Facebook says this episode of our @PBSDS show, Global Weirding, which tackles clean energy myths like “wind turbines slow the earths rotation!” has too much “political content” to be eligible for promotion. What do YOU think?I think that's an odd thing to say. Facebook allows promotion of a lot of blatantly political stuff. Her video is mildly political, particularly at the beginning, but it would be very strange if it were too political to be promoted. This being the era of Fake News, naive young bunnies leapt upon the tweet without troubling themselves to think too hard about whether it really made sense, writing headlines like The Science Video Facebook Did Not Want You To See or Facebook Still Unclear on Climate Science. But, of course, fb has no particular opinion on GW; though I'm sure if you asked MZ he'd be a believer. And anyway, the video isn't about GW science. It's about the cost of renewables.
What did fb actually say? Their guidelines (https://newsroom.fb.com/news/2018/05/ads-with-political-content/) appear to only require labelling.And KH replied:
No: they said my account was not approved for political advertising. I have heard (second hand) that such approval is fairly arduous: and anyways as a resolutely non-partisan climate scientist I don’t see why I would need it!!And there I think you have it: KH is a Nice Person. fb's rules about labelling political advertising should not apply to her, because she is Nice. Or, perhaps, she is unable to see that her video might have political dimensions, because she knows she is Right1. Politics is what Bad People do? But that Obama seemed so Nice.
Twatter is a compressed medium, of course, but I think that KH might have found space for the "my account is not approved for political advertising" in the first Tweet; fewer people might then have been mislead.
Other reaction includes "Facebook is hurting itself & our public discourse w half-baked double-standards & interference in our informational sovereignty", which sentiment KH was happy to endorse. And yet quite what is the double standard? To demonstrate that, you'd need to know that some political stuff that you didn't like had been promoted via an account not approved for political promotion. That sounds like a rather hard thing to know2. As for your "informational sovereignty" what of XKCD?
* L'affaire Peter Ridd
* I was a teenage Exxon-funded climate scientist?
* Hulme: In what ways is religious belief relevant for understanding climate change?
* Should Facebook Censor Videos by Climate Deniers?
1. In the sense of being correct, of course. Not in the sense of being politically on the Right. But that's so obvious I didn't need to say it, of course. In this context, though, that isn't a compliment.
2. At which point I cannot resist quoting Hobbes beautiful For if a man pretend to me that God hath spoken to him supernaturally, and immediately, and I make doubt of it, I cannot easily perceive what argument he can produce to oblige me to believe it.