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During COP26, Facebook served ads with climate falsehoods, skepticism

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During COP26, Facebook served ads with climate falsehoods, skepticism
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A smartphone with Meta logo and a 3D printed Facebook logo is placed on a laptop keyboard in this illustration taken October 28, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

By Elizabeth Culliford

(Reuters) – Facebook (NASDAQ:) advertisers promoted false and misleading claims about climate change on the platform in recent weeks, just as the COP26 conference was getting under way.

Days after Facebook’s vice president of global affairs, Nick Clegg, touted the company’s efforts to combat climate misinformation in a blog as the Glasgow summit began, conservative media network Newsmax ran an ad on Facebook that called man-made global warming a “hoax.”

The ad, which had multiple versions, garnered more than 200,000 views. In another, conservative commentator Candace Owens said, “apparently we’re just supposed to trust our new authoritarian government” on climate science, while a U.S. libertarian think-tank ran an ad on how “modern doomsayers” had been wrongly predicting climate crises for decades. 

Newsmax, Owens and the Daily Wire, which paid for the ad from Owens’s page, did not respond to requests for comment.

Facebook, which recently changed its name to Meta, does not have a specific policy on climate misinformation in ads or unpaid posts. Alphabet (NASDAQ:)’s Google said last month it would no longer allow ads that contradict scientific consensus on climate change on YouTube and its other services, though it would allow content that discusses false claims.

Facebook generally does not remove misinformation in posts unless it determines they pose imminent real-world harm, as it did for falsehoods around COVID-19. The company says it demotes posts ranked as false by its third-party fact-checkers (of which Reuters is one) and prohibits ads with these debunked claims. It says advertisers that repeatedly post false information may face restrictions on their ability to advertise on Facebook. It exempts politicians’ ads from fact-checks.

Asked about ads pushing climate misinformation, a company spokesperson said in a statement: “While ads like these run across many platforms, Facebook offers an extra layer of transparency by requiring them to be available to the public in our Ad Library for up to seven years after publication.”

UK-based think-tank InfluenceMap, which identified misleading Facebook ads run from several media outlets and think-tanks around COP26, also found fossil fuel companies and lobbying groups spent $574,000 on political and social issue Facebook ads during the summit, resulting in more than 22 million impressions and including content that promoted their environmental efforts in what InfluenceMap described as “greenwashing.”

One ad paid for by the American Petroleum Institute panned over a natural landscape as it touted its efforts to tackle climate change, while BP (NYSE:) America ran an ad detailing its support for climate-friendly policies in neon green writing.

“Our social media posts represent a small fraction compared to the robust investments our companies make every day,” the API said in a statement, saying the and oil industry was committed to lowering emissions. BP said in a statement that it was “actively advocating for policies that support net zero, including carbon pricing, through a range of transparent channels, including social media advertising.”

Facebook has started adding informational labels to posts about climate change to direct users to its Climate Science Center, a new hub with facts and quizzes which it says is visited by more than 100,000 people a day.

Asked in an interview aired this week at the Reuters Responsible Business USA 2021 event where he thought Facebook still fell short on climate issues, Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer said, “Obviously, there’s been concern about people sharing misinformation about climate on Facebook.”

“I’m not going to say we have it right at any moment in time,” he said. “We continually reevaluate what the state of the world is and what is our role, which starts with trying to allow people free expression, and then intervening when there are harms happening that we can prevent.”

He did not directly answer why Facebook had not banned all climate misinformation ads but said it “didn’t want people to profit over misinformation.”

EMPLOYEES QUESTION POLICY

The company’s approaches to climate misinformation and skepticism have caused employee debate. Discussions on its internal message board show staff sparring over how it should handle climate misinformation and flagging instances of it on the platform, such as in a January post where an employee said they found “prominent results of apparent misinformation” when they searched for climate change in its video ‘Watch’ section.

The documents were among a cache of disclosures made to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and Congress by whistleblower Frances Haugen, a former Facebook product manager who left in May. Reuters was among a group of news organizations able to view the documents.

In the comments on an April post highlighting Facebook’s commitment to reducing its own environmental impact, including by reaching net zero emissions for its global operations last year, one staff member asked if the company could start classifying and removing climate misinformation and hoaxes from its platforms.

Two external researchers working with Facebook on its climate change efforts told Reuters they would like to see the company approach climate misinformation with the same proactiveness it has for COVID-19, which Facebook cracked down on during the pandemic.

“It does need to be addressed with the same level of urgency,” said John Cook, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Climate Change Communication Research Hub at Monash University who is advising Facebook on its climate misinformation work. “It is arguably more dangerous.”

Stock Markets

European stock indices are falling following Asian stock markets on Monday

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European stock indices are falling

Major European stock indices are falling under pressure from Asian markets, according to trading data and analyst commentary.

The British FTSE 100 index is down 0.71% to 7431.66 points, French CAC 40 is down 0.64% to 6667.31 points and German DAX is down 0.58% to 14456.82 points.

Why are European stock indices down? 

On Monday, investors’ attention was turned to the situation around the coronavirus in China. The country has seen a record surge in cases of coronavirus for several days in a row, and authorities have imposed a lot of new anti-coviral restrictions. As a result, Shanghai residents demonstrated on Sunday against the restrictions imposed by the authorities.

Against this backdrop, Asia-Pacific stock indexes ended Monday’s trading in the negative, which had an impact on the mood of traders in Europe.

“China will be the main driver today because any political instability in the country is a source of uncertainty and anxiety for markets,” Jaime Espejo, an equity fund manager at Imantia Capital in Madrid, told Bloomberg.

One of the main events for investors in Europe this week will be the statistical data on consumer prices in the euro area. Analysts think that, according to preliminary estimations, annual inflation slowed down to 10.4% from 10.6% in October.

Earlier we reported that the U.S. had banned imports of equipment by Huawei and several other companies from China.

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Huawei is banned in the US: the US has banned the import of equipment from Huawei and several other companies from China

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huawei is banned in us

Huawei is banned in the US. The Federal Communications Commission for the first time recognized products of a lot of Chinese companies banned for import and sale because of national security risks. Commission member Carr said that China threatens U.S. interests through espionage.

Telecommunications and surveillance equipment manufactured by Huawei, ZTE, Hytera and several other Chinese companies are banned from importation and sale in the United States because of “unacceptable risks” to national security. This was announced by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on its website.

Huawei banned in the U.S. – what is banned?

The products of the subsidiaries and affiliates mentioned in the list of companies fall under the ban. Brendan Carr, a member of the Federal Communications Commission, called the decision unprecedented and unanimously adopted with the support of both parties in Congress. This is the first time in the history of the agency, he noted, that the distribution of communications and electronic equipment has been banned because of national security reasons.

Carr pointed out that “Communist China and other malevolent actors” are too eager to use loopholes in U.S. electronic systems to obtain sensitive information, they are trying to “compromise American interests through espionage, intellectual property theft, blackmail, foreign influence campaigns and other nefarious activities.”

Two years ago, the commission had already banned using government subsidies to buy equipment from Huawei and other Chinese companies, he recalled, and as a result many operators had refused to cooperate with such firms. But that decision left a loophole for buying equipment with private funds, and it’s time to close it, Carr said.

Huawei was put on U.S. sanctions lists more than three years ago, in May 2019. Washington accused the company of industrial espionage, stealing technology and threatening the U.S. economy. In February 2020, The Wall Street Journal, citing statements from U.S. officials, reported that Huawei had covert access to cell phone networks around the world.

The CIA believes Huawei was funded by Chinese intelligence, the Chinese Armed Forces and the Republic’s National Security Central Committee, sources told The Times. At the same time, the FBI believes that Huawei equipment installed on cellular towers near US military bases can jam and intercept Defense Department communications, including those used by the US Strategic Command, which is responsible for nuclear weapons.

Earlier, we reported that Bloomberg named the most profitable stock market in 2022.

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Stock Markets

What is the most profitable stock market? Bloomberg called it the most profitable stock market in 2022

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what is the most profitable stock market

What is the most profitable stock market? The stock market of Turkey, which is the most profitable stock market in the world, has become the growth leader this year, ahead of U.S., European and Asian platforms, Bloomberg wrote. The benchmark index Borsa Istanbul 100 (BIST 100) since the beginning of the year rose 78% in dollar terms.

In lira terms, the index, which includes shares of the 100 largest Turkish companies listed on the Istanbul Stock Exchange, has risen by more than 150% since January. This was the best result since 1999, the publication calculated. Most European financial markets have shown negative dynamics this year.

What is the most profitable stock market?

Turkey’s stock market hit an all-time high in November 2022 as private investors invested in Turkish assets to protect against high inflation. The Borsa Istanbul 100 index rose to a new record high of 4,784 points in trading on Nov. 16. During trading on Tuesday, Nov. 22, the BIST 100 index gained 3.6 percent to trade at 4,734 points.

Domestic investors are investing in stocks as Turkey’s central bank pursues a policy of lowering interest rates to spur economic growth, even as the country’s inflation rate exceeds 80 percent. Despite high inflation, the country’s regulator has conducted monetary policy easing cycles in 2021, which goes against current monetary policy. The rate cut has helped weaken the Turkish lira and turned equities into one of the few income-generating havens for investors.

Inflation in Turkey surpassed 85% in October for the first time in 25 years, and while the country’s central bank predicts it could fall to 65.2% by year’s end, price growth remains among the highest in the world.

Stocks have become favorites of Turkish investors. The number of stock trading accounts opened by private investors rose 32% this year to 3.1 million as of Nov. 18, according to Turkey’s Central Securities Depository.

According to Evren Kirikoglu, founder of Istanbul-based Sardis Research Consultancy, Turkish stocks are likely to remain attractive to investors for at least the first half of next year, even as inflation in the country begins to decline.

Earlier we reported that the U.S. stock market was up more than 1% for the day.

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