Pinterest will prohibit ads and posts that feature climate misinformation in its latest attempt to block harmful content on its virtual pinboard service, the company said on Wednesday.
The ban includes any content that denies the existence or impacts of climate change, or denies that humans influence global warming and that the phenomenon is supported by scientific consensus. Inaccurate posts about natural disasters and extreme weather events will also be removed, as will misrepresentations of scientific data through omission or cherry-picking meant to erode trust in climate science.
Searches about sustainability are on the rise on Pinterest, with queries about “zero waste lifestyle” surging 64 percent in the past year.
Google said in October that it would no longer display ads on YouTube videos and other content that promote inaccurate claims about climate change. Some publications have stopped accepting ads from fossil fuel companies, while ad agencies are increasingly turning away work from the industry.
A report released this week by a panel of experts convened by the United Nations concluded that nations must drastically cut fossil fuels emissions in the coming years to prevent a disastrous level of global warming.
Pinterest has blocked several categories of ads over the years, banning ads showing culturally appropriated and inappropriate costumes in 2016, anti-vaccination content in 2017, political ads in 2018 and weight-loss ads in 2021. In response, companies such as Shapermint changed their marketing campaigns to feature women of all body types, according to Pinterest.
Ads account for all of Pinterest’s revenue. The company, which declined to say how many climate misinformation ads it had caught in the past, said it used human moderators, automated systems and user reports to enforce its policies.
Sarah Bromma, Pinterest’s head of policy, said the company wanted to prevent misinformation before it gained popularity on the site. Tech giants such as Meta and Twitter have faced blowback from users and advertisers for allowing hate speech, conspiracy theories and misleading content on their services.
“We always want to make sure our policies are forward-leaning, that we’re not waiting until we’re overrun with some type of harmful content and then move,” she said. “At that point, it’s kind of too late.”