One way the company tried to combat this problem is by outsourcing fact-checking to more than 80 independent organizations, including journalists who review and rate public Facebook and Instagram posts.
"Fact-checking posts is often very complex. There are some parts that are true, others that are not. So there is a need for explanation; this is why we need the expertise of journalists to do this work," Basak Tezcan, who leads Facebook's sustainability team in Germany, told DW.
Content that has been rated false or altered will be labelled and will be limited in its distribution. It won't be deleted, though, unless it contributes to "the risk of imminent violence or physical harm,” according to Facebook's Community Guidelines.
Here's the catch, though: "The fact-checking program is not meant to interfere with individual expression or debate," which means that opinion and speech from politicians, for example, isn't necessarily subjected to a fact check.
This has led to a backlash from climate activists, saying the policy is a huge loophole for climate change deniers.
Pre-bunking instead of debunking
Considering the risk to society of climate misinformation, van der Linden believes Facebook's climate misinformation trial is at least a small step in the right direction.
In the future, van der Linden hopes Facebook will work not just on debunking, but also "pre-bunking." In his previous research he has found that facts about scientific consensus can also be used to "pre-bunk" — pre-emptively debunk — the public against climate misinformation.
"Once people are exposed to a falsehood already, it's so much more difficult to undo the damage. So the better thing is a pre-bunk."
Another question is whether, as Beckedahl sees it, tech giants will agree to give independent scientists and government agencies access to their internal data so they can better understand how misinformation and climate myths spread exactly and what impact this has on society and our planet.
"Right now, it's a big black box, and the only ones who know what's really going on are the tech giants themselves — and they won't share their information. And that's a huge and dangerous asymmetry of power."Dapatkan update berita pilihan dan breaking news setiap hari dari Kompas.com. Mari bergabung di Grup Telegram "Kompas.com News Update", caranya klik link https://t.me/kompascomupdate, kemudian join. Anda harus install aplikasi Telegram terlebih dulu di ponsel.