As on Twitter, dedicated climate change skeptics on Facebook are primarily a fringe group but the climate hoax issue does receive widespread attention from prominent conservative media organizations. Also similar to #climatehoax on Twitter, the activity on Facebook is relatively intermittent with stories only gaining popularity sporadically.
On Facebook, there are both specific climate change denial groups and those for general discussion of the issue. The most popular of the denial groups are “Climate Change is a Hoax” and “Scientists Skeptical of AGW” (AGW = anthropogenic global warming). The groups have 1,326 and 3,724 members respectively. Unfortunately, Scientists Skeptical of AGW is a closed group so I was unable to view their activity. Climate Change is a Hoax allows for open access where users post media content from a wide variety of sources like Youtube, other Facebook pages, mainstream media sites, blogs and more nebulous websites such as whyitsnotco2.com. Articles about unusually cold temperatures or increased snowfall are particularly common among this group.
Overall though, few posts garner many likes, shares or reposts. In contrast, posts in the more balanced group “Climate Change Discussion”, which has 15,908 members, heavily favor the climate change advocate side. The climate advocates tend to post articles from National Geographic and NASA but also heavily rely on more obscure websites. Posts here still have very low numbers of comments, likes and reposts.
Climate change denial pages are more numerous than discussion groups and a few are moderately successful. Such pages sport trenchant titles like “Climate change is natural”, “World Wide Protest Against the Global Warming SCAM”, and simply “Climate Change LIES”. The most prominent among these is “Climate change is natural”. This page chiefly uses incendiary memes and articles lampooning liberals in general. For example:
Or another oddly off-topic post:
No more than 1 in 10 posts are directly related to climate change. The creators of this page are perhaps employing a more subtle tactic of tying widespread conservative prejudices with anthropogenic climate change denial. Visitors of the page will view climate hoax articles nested between videos like animal cruelty activists branding themselves and anti-Hillary memes. Regardless, this page is far more popular than any discussion group. “Climate change is natural” has 7,878 likes and its posts frequently get likes in the 50-70 range.
Unsurprisingly, the greatest sources for climate hoax information on Facebook are the major conservative websites like Breitbart, The Blaze and The Federalist Papers. Sites like Fox News post a limited amount of negative material on climate change but usually do not outright deny it. Other sites have no such reservations:
Sites like these are extremely popular, each having millions of likes. Most of the posts are articles from their own websites but they by no means shy away from memes either. For example, this meme was reposted with an accompanying article:
In general, the arguments used by these sites center around the following: the greed of scientists for research funds, the hypocritical actions of liberals and environmentalists, the secret machinations of Al Gore, and how the government is using climate change as an excuse for a power grab.
Now that we have examined climate hoaxers on Twitter and Facebook, I am eager to see if the same media organizations dominate other social media sites as well.