Hillicon Valley — Facebook 'too late' curbing climate falsities

Hillicon Valley — Facebook 'too late' curbing climate falsities
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Advocates: Facebook falls short combating climate change misinformation

Today is Friday. Welcome to Hillicon Valley, detailing all you need to know about tech and cyber news from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup.

Facebook announced a plan to combat climate change misinformation by boosting factual claims, but an environmental organization said the tech giant's effort fails to adequately address the issue. 

Meanwhile, Apple and Google removed an app created by allies of jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny after representatives of the tech companies were reportedly invited to meet at the Russian parliament. 

Follow The Hill’s cyber reporter, Maggie Miller (@magmill95), and tech team, Chris Mills Rodrigo (@millsrodrigo) and Rebecca Klar (@rebeccaklar_), for more coverage.

Let’s jump in.


Missing the mark 

Facebook’s new effort to combat climate change misinformation falls short of addressing the root of the false claims spreading on the social media platform, an advocacy group said. 

Facebook announced a plan Thursday including a $1 million investment in a new climate grant program to support organizations working to combat climate misinformation, but the group Friends of the Earth said the effort misses the point and will fail to expel the vast majority of disinformation. 

Not a fan: “Facebook’s actions are far too little, far too late,” Michael Khoo, Friends of the Earth co-chair of the Climate Disinformation Coalition, said in a statement. “Facebook knows the super-spreaders of climate disinformation and should put an end to their repetitive lies. We cannot solve social media disinformation by playing an endless game of whack-a-mole with known liars.” 

Friends of the Earth released a report with an analysis of disinformation following the February 2021 storm-related blackouts in Texas. The analysis looked at disinformation spreading debunked myths that renewable energy was to blame for outages. 

The data: The analysis found less than 1 percent of high-performing Facebook posts spreading the debunked claims about the blackout contained a fact-checking label. The 10 highest-performing posts blaming renewable energy, garnering a total 673,300 total interactions, lacked a fact-check label, according to the analysis. 

Read more here


Removal in Russia 

An app created by allies of jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny that has drawn the ire of Russian authorities appeared to have been removed from Apple and Google stores Friday ahead of the country’s parliamentary elections this weekend. 

The Associated Press (AP) reported that the move comes after Apple and Google representatives were invited Thursday to meet at the Federation Council, the upper house of Russia’s parliament, after which the council said that Apple had agreed to cooperate with repeated demands from authorities to remove the app over concerns of election interference. 

A person with direct knowledge of the situation told the AP that Russian officials also pushed Google to remove the app in the face of legal demands by regulators and threats of criminal prosecution. 

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinPutin blasts cancel culture, calls gender fluidity 'crime against humanity' Russia breaks daily COVID-19 infections, death record US, allied nations force REvil ransomware group offline: report MORE’s administration “definitely, of course” welcomes the move by the companies, arguing that the app was operating “outside the law.” 

Read more here.


The International Brotherhood of Teamsters is reportedly launching a campaign to organize workers in at least nine Amazon facilities across Canada, as the tech giant resists unionization efforts in the U.S.

Union officials this week told Reuters about their nationwide plans, which include working with warehouse employees in Alberta who filed for a labor union election on Monday through the Teamsters Local Union 362.

The campaign reportedly covers several Amazon facilities from the Pacific coastal province of British Columbia to southern Ontario, with one local Teamsters organizer telling Reuters, “Any locals that have an Amazon facility in their area are doing an organizing campaign.”

Read more here.


An op-ed to chew on: How to improve transatlantic relations without caving to Europe on technology and trade

Lighter click: Please look

Notable links from around the web:

U.S. to target crypto ransomware payments with sanctions (The Wall Street Journal / Ian Talley and Dustin Volz) 

How Facebook Hobbled Mark ZuckerbergMark ZuckerbergHillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — US cracks down on tools for foreign hacking DC AG adds Facebook's Zuckerberg to Cambridge Analytica suit Senator asks Facebook's Zuckerberg to testify at hearing on kids' safety MORE’s Bid to Get America Vaccinated (The Wall Street 

Journal / Sam Schechner, Jeff Horwitz and Emily Glazer)

Troll farms reached 140 million Americans a month on Facebook before 2020 election, internal report shows (MIT Tech Review / Karen Hao)

HelloFresh Workers Unionize to Improve Brutal Working Conditions (Motherboard / Lauren Kaori Gurley)

One last thing: United outage

A systemwide outage briefly grounded several United Airlines flights across the United States and Canada on Friday.

At about 6:45 a.m., United issued a ground stop applying to flights traveling out of both the U.S. and Canada. After 45 minutes the stop was lifted, according to Fox News.

The carrier confirmed to The Hill that the service outage was due to issues in the system.

"This morning we experienced technical system issues that impacted our operations and have since been resolved. All systems are now working normally and we are working diligently to get customers to their destinations," United said in a statement.

Several United customers took to social media to share the issues they were experiencing with United's mobile app and at the airport.

Read more here


That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s technology and cybersecurity pages for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you Monday.