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Facebook Announces New Initiatives to Raise Awareness of Climate Change, and Tackle Climate Misinformation

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Amid the ongoing disruption of COVID-19, the focus on addressing climate change has seemingly taken a back seat, though scientists have warned that the threat of climate disruption has not reduced, and has in fact, intensified over the last year and a half, ramping up the need for immediate and significant action.

This week, Facebook is taking up the cause, with the announcement of a range of new features designed to raise awareness about climate change impacts, while it’s also funding a new program aimed at addressing climate misinformation across its platforms.

First off, Facebook has announced the expansion of its Climate Science Information Center, which it first launched in selected countries last September as a means to connect users with accurate, timely climate information.

Facebook Climate Science Center

The hub is now available in 16 countries, and is visited by over 100k people daily. And now Facebook’s looking to make it a more engaging, informative element.

As explained by Facebook:

“We’re renaming the hub to the Climate Science Center and are adding new modules like a quiz feature, in collaboration with the IPCC, to test people’s knowledge about climate change, as well as a feature that provides people with information about climate-related crises, starting with wildfires.

Facebook Climate Science Center update

The new additions will ideally make it a more engaging experience, and facilitate more discussion and knowledge-sharing around climate change impacts.

The updates will also make a lot of the information on the Center easier to share, which could prompt more users to spread the word throughout their Facebook networks, helping to further the discussion about such impacts.

In addition to this, Facebook’s also launching a new video series to highlight young climate advocates across Facebook and Instagram.

“Starting during Climate Week, September 20-26, we will highlight creators and advocates who raise awareness of climate change on our apps. We’ll also be launching a special food sustainability video with Sydel Curry-Lee on Facebook Watch, featuring a number of climate creators on @Instagram, and highlighting several environmental advocates in an effort to inspire and inform others on Facebook.”

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Tapping into the popularity of platform influencers could be another way to spark more discussion about climate change, and shift perceptions through insight.

Facebook will also continue to support the ‘Say It With Science’ video series, which sees the UN Foundation and IPCC bringing together scientists and youth advocates to present the latest climate science insights.

And finally, Facebook says that it’s investing $1 million into a new grant program, in partnership with the International Fact Checking Network, to provide support for organizations working to combat climate misinformation. 

“Through our $1 million investment in this new grant program, we’ll invest in proposals that build alliances between fact-checkers, climate experts and other organizations to support projects that focus on combating climate misinformation. In consultation with climate communication experts from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, University of Cambridge and Monash University, we’re also adding new facts to the Facts About Climate Change section of the Climate Science Center.”

Which is particularly important in Facebook’s case, because while the platform has implemented a range of new initiatives to amplify accurate information, and address misinformation in posts, Facebook’s scale still sees it fueling certain movements and conspiracy theories that seek to minimize climate change impacts, or even outright deny that anything is happening on this front.

According to reports, Facebook has actually willingly participated in such at times.

Last July, a report found that Facebook had reversed its fact-check labels on some climate-related posts because it was asked to do so by a Republican congressman in the US. A month earlier, Facebook was also found to be allowing many climate denial posts to remain up on its platforms by tagging such as ‘opinion’, thus making them ineligible for fact checks. 

Various climate scientists have criticized Facebook’s inaction on this front, while data shows that counter-science theories often see millions of views on the platform, helping them reach much wider audiences.

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Given this, it’s important that Facebook is looking to take action, but it still has a way to go in taking a meaningful stance against climate misinformation, and addressing the role that it now plays in the dissemination of such.

The largest interconnected network of people in history can have a big influence in this respect, arguably the biggest of any one organization, and if Facebook takes a stronger stance, that could play a major role in reducing anti-climate change rhetoric, and prompting more action on this front.

You can check out Facebook’s new Climate Science Center here.

Socialmediatoday.com

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Meta Launches New Reels Features, Including Stories to Reels Conversion and Improved Analytics

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Meta Launches New Reels Features, Including Stories to Reels Conversion and Improved Analytics

As it works to latch onto the short-form video trend, and negate the rising influence of TikTok, Meta has announced some new updates for Reels, across both Facebook and Instagram, including additional Reels insights, the expansion of the ‘Add Yours’ sticker, and ‘auto-created’ Reels clips. Yes, automatically created Reels videos.

Here’s how the new additions work.

The main addition is the expansion of the ‘Add Yours’ sticker from Stories to Reels, providing another way to prompt engagement from other users via Reels clips.

As you can see in these example images, you’ll now be able to post ‘Add Yours’ questions via Reels clips, while you’ll also be able to view all the various video responses to any prompt in each app.

It could be another way to spark engagement, and lean into the more interactive ethos of the short form video trend. Part of the appeal of TikTok is that it invites people in, with the participatory nature of the app essentially expanding meme engagement, by making it more accessible for users to add their own take.

Meta will be hoping that the ‘Add Yours’ sticker helps to facilitate the same, prompting more engagement with Reels clips.

Next up is auto-created Facebook Reels, which, as it sounds, will enable users to automatically convert their archived Stories into Reels clips.

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Reels updates

As you can see here, you’ll soon see a new ‘Create from Your Story Archive’ prompt in the Reels creation flow, which will then enable you to convert your Stories into Reels clips.

So it’s not exactly wholly automated Reels creation, as it’s just flipping your Stories clips into Reels as well. But it could provide another, simple way for users and brands to create Stories content, utilizing the video assets that they already have to link into the trend.

Worth noting that Meta also recently added a tool to convert your video assets into Reels within Creator Studio.

Meta’s also expanding access to its ‘Stars’ creator donations to Facebook Reels, which is now being opened up to all eligible creators.

Stars donations in Reels

Meta initially announced the coming expansion of Stars to Reels back in June, which will provide another critical monetization pathway for Reels creators. Short form video is not as directly monetizable as longer clips, where you can insert pre and mid-roll adds, so add-on elements like this are key to keeping creators posting, and fueling an ecosystem for such in its apps.

Stars on Reels will be available all creators that have maintained at least 1,000 followers over the last 60 days.

Meta’s also adding new Reels performance insights to Creator Studio, including Reach, Minutes Viewed, and Average Watch Time.

Reels updates

That’ll provide more perspective on what’s working, and what’s not, to help optimize your Reels approach – which could be especially valuable in the coming holiday push.

Lastly, Meta’s also expanding some Reels features that were previously only available in Instagram to Facebook as well.

Crossposting from Instagram to Facebook is now available to all Instagram users, while Meta’s also expanding its Remix option to Facebook Reels also.

Reels updates

As noted, Reels has become a key focus for Meta, as the short-form video trend continues to gain traction, and TikTok continues to rise as a potential competitor. By replicating TikTok’s main elements, Meta’s working to negate its key differentiation, which could ensure that more of its users don’t bother downloading a new app, and just stick with its platforms instead.’

Which, whether you agree with that approach or not, has proven effective. Reels content now makes up more than 20% of the time that people spend on Instagram, while video content, overall, makes up 50% of the time that people spend on Facebook.

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Meta additionally notes that it’s seen a more than 30% increase in engagement time with Reels across both Facebook and Instagram.

Meta doesn’t need to ‘beat’ TikTok as such (as much as it would like to), but it does need to dilute its significance if it can, and make it less appealing for users to have to start yet another new account, and re-build their friends list.

That’s why it’ll continue to replicate TikTok at every turn, because millions of people are currently not going to TikTok because of the presence of Reels in its apps.  

You can learn more about Meta’s new Reels updates here.

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