L'affaire Hayhoe

Katharine Hayhoe says:
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.

I asked
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.


David B. Benson said...

Facebook is less to be believed than your local village gossip.

Marco said...

I interpret Hayhoe's comment quite different: she's telling you she doesn't see how she should fall under the "political advertising policy" of Facebook:

After all the video is NOT
"made by, on behalf of or about a current or former candidate for public office, a political party, a political action committee or advocates for the outcome of an election to public office"

Nor does it relate to
"any election, referendum or ballot initiative, including "get out the vote" or election information campaigns"

"relates to any national legislative issue of public importance in any place where the ad is being run"

"Is regulated as political advertising."

William M. Connolley said...

Could be. That's why I'd like to see what fb actually told her, rather than a heavily paraphrased version. I think it plausible to argue that her material is not election related, but it could fall under "Relates to any national legislative issue of public importance in any place where the ad is being run" (which brings up other qquestions, like where wa she trying to promote it. also, now I think about it, has she promoted other stuff, or did she fail at the first attemtp?). I'd also suspect that fb doesn't employ highly trained lawyers to make these decisions; more likely, it is done by untrained monkeys who just go "meh, that looks a bit political".

Marco said...

"Relates to any national legislative issue of public importance" is extremely broad if one is to understand her video as an example of such.

Phil said...

So does warming the Arctic have a threshold?

Cooling the Arctic seemed to have a threshold, why is warming different?

"In our simulations the long-term CO2 decline is accompanied by a relatively abrupt intensification of Northern Hemisphere glaciation at around 2.7 Ma. This is the result of a threshold behaviour of the ice sheets response to gradual CO2 decrease and orbital forcing."


I know, tweeting is more. Fun.

William M. Connolley said...

That's an EMIC, so don't take it too seriously, they are more prone to thresholds that AOGCMs.

Note that threshold is around the large ice sheets. Those are gone now, so there is nothing to have a threshold with (similar to why some of Hansen's analogues for 6 oC climate sensitivity are dubious).

dave said...

"fewer people might then have been mislead" – wot is the grammatik they is teeching youse? chiz chiz

Otherwise this seems like part of the ATP discussion about science occurs in a human context, human life is political, therefore science is political and can be dismissed as such by WUWT.


"Facebook is less to be believed than your local village gossip."

As it takes a common scold to raise a village gossip, the solution to the Facebook problem may lie in modernizing that great invention of Puritan social egineering, the ducking stool.

While the original model immersed common scolds in cold water one at a time, adding Cold Duck (tm) software to Facebook platforms would allow their operation only within range of Stuxnet controlled fire sprinklers.

Should Facebook users collectively exceed some statutory nuisance limit by scolding each other the could then be vigorously doused for long enough to cool their heads and make them reflect on the perils of social media addiction.

William M. Connolley said...

> therefore science is political

I've been keeping out of that. It is possible to say any number of true things in that domain, but very hard to wrap them into a convenient whole that makes a consistent useful story. The only thing I got to take away out of that was mt's "question authority, but listen to the answers".

> Stuxnet controlled fire sprinkler

We can dream. But, to be serious, yes fb is like village gossip, or like the daily meeja: there is a constant stream of Stuff, none of which you should believe without checking else where (which is why people who report only their own experiences, ala KH, without providing the backup material, are so annoying). But nonetheless it often provides useful pointers to things that are worth checking, as does Twatter.

Phil said...

Ah yes, no large ice sheets at present day.


Tom said...

A hammer can be used as a weapon. A hammer is not a weapon.

William M. Connolley said...

In the Arctic context, the Antarctic isn't. And I think the Antarctic lacks the ice-albedo feedbacks the NH sheets once had.

Tom said...

Isn't it a bit more likely that Facebook is running around with pants on fire due to concerns about Russian election interference and is flagging everything that isn't a picture of a cute kitten as potentially sensitive?

William M. Connolley said...

That is indeed the near-inevitable result of the heat they're getting. Or, in other words, "be careful what you wish for".

Phil said...

I find your statement that ice-albedo feedbacks might have a threshold interesting. Are there any other thresholds that we might care about over the next thousand years?

David Appell said...

In what way is Hayhoe's video clip a political advertisement?