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Mark Gongloff

Big Tech Helps Big Oil Spread Subtle Climate Denialism

Fossil-fuel companies use social media to minimize their role in harming the environment.

Hard to deny.

Hard to deny.

Photographer: Nic Coury/Bloomberg

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Fossil-fuel companies’ climate messaging may have changed to fit the new century, but the goal is the same the industry has had for  decades: to delay action and protect profits for as long as possible. Even in the face of an increasingly obvious climate emergency, this message still resonates with many people. Maybe that’s because the biggest social media companies help amplify it.

In the latest example, a study finds that industry groups, including an arm of the American Petroleum Institute, spent up to $4 million on nearly 4,000 Facebook and Instagram ads sowing climate misinformation before and during the United Nations climate conference last November, also known as COP27.