Campaigners create Twitter 'fact avalanche' to combat climate untruths

Trump: one of the figures monitored by new tool
Trump: one of the figures monitored by new tool

A volley of facts is awaiting Donald Trump the next time he spreads false information about climate change.

Environmental campaigners are taking an aggressive approach to fighting Twitter misinformation by bombarding climate change deniers with a "fact avalanche". 

Protect Our Winters Canada has launched an online tool, created by Sid Lee Montreal, that alerts people when an untruthful tweet about climate change has been posted on Twitter.

The Fact Avalanche tool then invites participants to respond using proven scientific facts from universities in an attempt to automatically bury false information.

To monitor content, Sid Lee uses a social media team who follow the Twitter accounts of the most influential climate deniers and political figures. Those being monitored include US president Donald Trump, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin and Ben Pile, a British writer for online magazine Spiked who blogs about "climate resistance".

The first "avalanche alert" was sent last night in response to a tweet by Maxime Bernier, leader of the People’s Party of Canada, a populist movement formed last year after Bernier split from the Conservative Party. 

The work was inspired by research from the University of Oxford that revealed only 3% of the content regarding climate change on Twitter is from an expert scientific source. Another study from the University of California showed how climate change deniers get 49% more visibility in the media and online compared with scientists.

Kristian Manchester, executive creative director and partner at Sid Lee Montreal, said: "Climate deniers and fossil fuel lobbies use Twitter to spread scepticism and misinformation, so we thought it would be a great idea to flip things around and use the same tool for good."

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