Whom does Facebook trust to censor content posted on its platform?
A Ph.D. graduate from France.
The Frenchman, Emmanuel Vincent, started a fact-checking group he calls “Climate Feedback.” It does “a new kind of fact-checking.”
It sure is new—and wrong.
I released a video in which some climate scientists argue that climate change is not a “crisis.” They believe people adjust to changing temperatures.
>>> Watch: [John Stossel’s video “Are We Doomed” questions extreme claims made by climate change alarmists]
The video features clips of a debate I moderated in 2019 at the Heartland Institute. Well, it was supposed to be a debate, but it turned into a panel when the 30 to 40 climate change alarmists Heartland invited did not show up.
“It’s warmed up around one degree Celsius since 1900 and life expectancy doubled in industrialized democracies,” said panelist Pat Michaels, past president of the American Association of State Climatologists. “And yet, that temperature ticks up another half a degree, and the entire system crashes. That’s the most absurd belief.”
I included that clip in the video that Facebook then censored. More than 25 million people watched it on Facebook.
But now, Facebook will not show it to you because Vincent called the remarks of the panelists—Michaels; a climatology professor at the University of Delaware; and an astrophysicist—”partially false.”
Vincent would not agree to an interview with me, nor would most of his fact-checking “reviewers.” Only one, Patrick Brown, an assistant professor at San Jose State, agreed to an interview.
Brown does not like that my video says America can adjust to rising sea levels by building dikes and doing other things like Holland has.
That’s “not the mainstream view,” he said, even though he claims sea levels could rise to 200 feet.
“You’re citing an extreme,” I said. “The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change doesn’t consider that likely.”
“I don’t know if they assess sea level rise out to a thousand years,” he responded.
No, of course they do not.
In 1,000 years, we may have carbon-eating machines.
It is absurd that Facebook lets “Climate Feedback” censor me because of something that might happen in 1,000 years.
My video also questioned the claim that hurricanes have gotten stronger.
“Climate Feedback” said it “misleads viewers.”
But Brown said my video is accurate! “That’s wrong that you were criticized for saying that,” he said. “The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [does not] claim that hurricanes, droughts, and floods are increasing.”
“The problem is omission of contextual information rather than ‘facts’ being ‘wrong,'” Brown wrote in an email.
Oh. Climate Feedback’s “fact-check” was not about actual facts.
“It’s a tonal thing,” Brown said.
Facebook censored me because climate alarmists do not like my “tone.”
I appealed, asking Facebook to remove the erroneous “fact check.”
No one has responded.
Maybe someday, skepticism about climate change being a “crisis” will prove foolish. But we do not know that today. It is a question that deserves debate, not censorship.
“Children are frightened that they’re going to drown,” I told Brown. “Young adults aren’t having babies because they think climate change is going to end the world!”
Brown said that many people are too fearful.
He said, “I get emails: ‘Is it worth it to have a kid … in this terrible world that’s going to be destroyed by climate change? I’m so scared about famine in my lifetime!’ I just reply and say, ‘The reports don’t say that.’”
Brown’s email responses are not enough. Facebook must allow videos like mine to reach millions of people.
But Vincent does not want that. And, amazingly, Facebook lets him decide.
It is the second time his group smeared me. Last time, they did not even watch my video!
The worst part is that Vincent’s smear means that Facebook now shows all my videos to fewer people.
That hurts. Of the 25 million people who watched my climate video, a staggering 24 million watched it on Facebook.
“I am sympathetic with what you’re saying,” said Brown. “At the same time, I like the idea of having some type of system where content can be compared to what experts think.”
Vincent said he hopes to expand his group and censor YouTube and Twitter too. He is eager to frighten people about climate change.
“What happens with groups like ‘Climate Feedback,'” says Brown, “they’re looking at emissions and nothing happens, policy-wise. … They develop this bias: ‘We really need to fact-check something that goes against the narrative!'”
The group’s “fact checks” do sometimes criticize alarmism if the claims are truly absurd, like New York Magazine’s cover story, “Uninhabitable Earth.”
But as I told Brown, “There were three times as many fact checks on skeptics as on alarmists.”
“That’s wrong,” he said. “They should be fact-checking the alarmist side just as much.”
They should, but they do not.
Vincent does not want debate. He wants to silence debate, and Facebook lets them.
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