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Combating climate misinformation on Pinterest

Entered in Corporate Social Responsibility

Objective

We know from engaging with climate experts that climate disinformation on digital platforms is a serious threat to the public support needed to solve the climate crisis. We also know Pinterest users (Pinners) are coming to the platform to find ideas on how to incorporate sustainability practices into everyday life. In fact, over the last year, searches for "zero waste tips" were 6X greater and “recycling clothes ideas” were 4X higher on the platform. With the goal of ensuring Pinners find inspiring ideas and information from trusted sources, Pinterest launched a global social impact communications campaign during Earth Month (April 2022) that introduced an industry-leading climate misinformation policy to keep false and misleading claims around climate change off the platform. The campaign also consisted of partnerships with content creators and climate experts to fuel inspiration around living a greener life and building a healthier planet.

Pinterest is committed to inspiring a better future and cultivating a safe and trusted space online. This bold campaign is another step in the company’s journey to combat misinformation, which started in 2017 when it first developed and implemented policies to address public health misinformation. With so many individuals coming to Pinterest for sustainability-related content, Pinterest is intentional about creating a platform that can further knowledge on climate change solutions by elevating expert content on the platform and connecting Pinners to useful and reliable sources of information to help drive positive outcomes and conversations online.

Strategy

To achieve the goal of ensuring Pinners find inspiring, safe, and trusted sustainability-related content online, Pinterest implemented a four-pronged strategy for the climate misinformation campaign, including: 1) developing and launching a comprehensive policy in collaboration with climate experts during a time of increased focus on sustainability efforts; 2) partnering with Pinterest Creators from around the world to develop inspiring, action-oriented content; 3) supporting the work of environmental organizations dedicated to tackling climate change; and 4) leveraging the Earth Month news cycle to draw greater attention to Pinterest’s efforts.

Developing and launching a comprehensive climate misinformation policy  

Tackling issues like climate change and misinformation are complex. When developing the new policy, Pinterest’s social impact and policy team knew it needed to be comprehensive,  proactive, and effective, and that it would require the support and collaboration of an entire ecosystem. We partnered with experts including the Climate Disinformation Coalition and the Conscious Advertising Network to help inform and develop a policy based on common misinformation themes the organizations saw across digital platforms. The established policy commits to taking down content that denies the existence or impacts of climate change, and also removes content that misrepresents scientific data or aims to erode trust in climate science and experts. At the time of launch, these clearly defined guidelines made Pinterest the leading major digital platform to have a dedicated policy against false, harmful or misleading climate change information, including conspiracy theories, and applicable across content and ads.

Partnering with Pinterest Creators to develop sustainability content

We also worked with environmental activist Green Girl Leah and other Pinterest Creators from around the world – including the US, UK, Australia, Germany, France, Japan, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Indonesia, and India – to launch an original content series that featured curated boards and content that encouraged Pinners to take individual action against climate change and misinformation. The series included tips for thrifting, upcycling clothes, and minimizing food waste, among other topics. Additionally, throughout the month of April, Pinners that searched for relevant topics like “eco-friendly living” and “sustainable living” would see an Idea Pin that took them to an article of the day focused on sustainability.

Donating to environmental organizations to advance climate action

Pinterest supports the work of several environmentally-focused organizations, including Project Drawdown, Intersectional Environmentalist, and Potential Energy Coalition, which powers Science Moms. In particular, Pinterest provides these organizations with donations to support their programmatic work and with ad credits to elevate their content on the platform, taking on an authentic leadership position to advance meaningful climate action.

Leveraging Earth Month to launch campaign

Pinterest strategically launched its climate misinformation campaign during Earth Month, a time when there is national and global discourse on issues pertaining to sustainability and the future of our planet. Leaning into this key news cycle put Pinterest’s progressive climate efforts top of mind for prominent media and stakeholders looking to understand how corporations are getting involved and taking action on climate change and misinformation.

Results

Pinterest’s climate misinformation campaign received positive recognition from prominent business/tech/green media, environmentalists, and climate-focused organizations keeping a pulse on corporate accountability in the space.  Specifically, the campaign generated more than 350 media placements across national, local and trade publications with more than 2.85B impressions. Earned media headlines like “Pinterest sets the bar in the fight against climate disinformation” and “Pinterest is first major tech platform to roll out a climate misinformation policy” highlights the company’s position as a true industry leader and advocate in sustainability and corporate social responsibility. 

Additionally, Pinterest received the highest marks on a scorecard developed by environmental groups Avaaz, Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace USA to understand how companies are helping to curb the spread of disinformation on climate change based upon the Climate Disinformation Coalition’s assessment.


Pinterest believes in cultivating a space that’s trusted and truthful for everyone using its platforms and will continue to press all platforms taking a stance and action to help people  make more informed decisions in their everyday lives to create a better, greener future for all.

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