Meta has published a major new report on public perceptions around climate change, and what can be done to address the impacts of such in various ways.
The 123-page report, conducted in partnership with Yale University, incorporates responses from 108,946 Facebook users from 192 countries, which provides a massive pool of insight into what people understand and feel about the climate crisis, and the global efforts being made to mitigate human impacts, where possible.
You can download the full ‘International Public Opinion on Climate Change’ report here, but in this post, we’ll take a look at some of the key notes.
First off, the report shows that the majority of people in nearly all countries are at least ‘somewhat’ or ‘very’ worried about climate change and its impacts, including more than 90% of respondents in Central and South America regions.
As you can see here, global concern around climate change is now pretty much universal, while regions in tropical climate zones, which are already dealing with significant climate impacts, are increasingly looking for governments to take more action.
As per Meta:
“In almost every country, majorities saw climate change as a threat to their country or territory over the next two decades, while a majority in two-thirds of the countries and territories surveyed think that climate change will harm future generations a great deal.”
The data also reflects growing acceptance of the role that humans play in climate shifts, with European Facebook users being most likely to agree that climate change is caused by human activity.
Which, of course, has been the scientific consensus for many years, but remains a point of contention among climate skeptics. But with 97% of climate and meteorological experts in agreement that human inputs can and do impact the climate, it’s clear that there are things we can implement to better our environment for the future.
Which Facebook users are now looking to their governments to enact:
“People everywhere think that climate change should be a high priority for their government. Majorities in most countries in North and South America say it should be a “very high” priority.”
Interestingly, most respondents also don’t believe that action to combat climate change will have negative effects on the economy, another key concern among skeptics and critics.
It’s taken some time, but it seems that broad acceptance of climate science is now becoming the norm, and it’s interesting to consider whether efforts made by social platforms to address climate misinformation are having an impact in this respect.
All social platforms have been taking steps to address climate misinformation, via fact-checks, informational prompts and reach restrictions on posts related to climate topics.
Twitter took things a step further in April, by announcing a total ban on climate misinformation in ads, while Pinterest went even further than that, by outlawing all false claims about climate change across posts and ads in its app.
Meta hasn’t taken as strong a stance, but it has expanded its fact checks on misleading climate posts, and it has sought to raise awareness of accepted facts via its Climate Science Center as well as in-stream prompts.
But many have criticized Meta’s approach – especially given research which shows that Facebook posts that include misleading climate claims are being viewed in the app over a million times every day.
Which makes it all the more interesting that Meta has published this report, which, if anything, suggests that there would be widespread support for the company in implementing a total ban on climate denial content.
Maybe this will lead to Meta taking a harder stance on such in future. For now, however, Meta is only offering insights into its own, business-specific contributions to address the issue.
“In 2021, Meta helped restore more than 2.3 million cubic meters of water through investments in water restoration projects. [We’re also progressing] towards our goal of reaching net zero emissions across our value chain, and maintaining 100% renewable energy for our global operations.”
Which is great, and Meta deserves credit for its progress. But the most significant impact Meta could have would be in addressing the spread of climate misinfo in all forms across its family of apps – and to the 3.64 billion people that use them.
You can download the full ‘International Public Opinion on Climate Change’ report here.
Instagram Expands NFT Display Options to More Than 100 Regions
While NFT sales continue to decline, and interest in the first wave of digital collectibles appears to be waning, Meta is expanding its support of digital collectibles, by making its NFT display option on Instagram available in more than 100 countries, meaning that the vast majority of IG users will now have the option to display their owned works in the app.
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has posted his own signed baseball card, which will soon become an NFT, to announce the expansion.
Originally launched to selected creators in the US back in May, Instagram’s NFT display option enables users to showcase their NFTs within the main IG feed, in Stories or in Direct Messages.
As you can see in this example, NFTs on Instagram will be shown with a ‘digital collectibles’ tag, which, when tapped, will display information about the creator of the work, and the ownership of that digital item.
There’ll also be a new NFT tab added to participating accounts, with a tick in a hexagon to indicate verified NFTs.
Instagram’s NFT process supports a range of connections to the top crypto payment tools, including Coinbase, Dapper, Ethereum, Polygon, and Flow. NFT owners are also able to connect their Rainbow, Trust Wallet and MetaMask accounts to verify NFT ownership.
The expansion could see NFTs become a bigger part of the Instagram eco-system, which, on one hand, seems a little ill-timed – because as noted, NFT sales are seeing a significant decline at the moment. But on the other, the integration will provide another way to support artists, with Meta specifically highlighting the benefits for creators from underrepresented communities to monetize their work.
If people keep buying them. According to a recent report from CoinTelegraph, NFT sales declined to their lowest levels in a year in June, bringing them back to, essentially, pre-NFT hype cycle levels.
Of course, the broader downturn in the crypto market would also play a big role in this, but the overall consensus is that the air is coming out of the NFT market, as buyers continue to lose money – either to scams or market shifts – and the perceived value of NFT projects becomes less and less clear.
But still, this is likely only the first wave of digital collectibles.
A lot of Web3 folk like to talk about how ‘early’ they are to these trends, as if that’s a good thing, but the fact of the matter is that these early adopters are going to lose out, repeatedly, because these early projects will largely be worthless in the long run, while NFTs, as an offering, will change and morph into new areas that could see them hold value.
Just not as expensive cartoons that look like they’ve been stolen from the walls of an elementary school corridor.
The longer-term view for NFTs is that they’ll enable the trading of digital items in the metaverse, like clothing for your avatar or in-world items. This type of marketplace is already generating millions within game worlds, like Fortnite and Roblox, and Meta’s view is that NFTs are the first step towards facilitating the same on a broader scale.
As per Meta:
“We’re exploring a wide range of web3 technologies because we believe they will expand access, reduce costs, and accelerate innovation, empowering people and creators around the world. We are excited to continue listening to feedback from creators and collectors as we continue to build in this space.”
Whether crypto remains a central peg in this, or it reverts to fiat currency, the potential is there for the NFT framework to facilitate this type of cross-platform trading. But not yet.
So, yes, current Web3 folk are early. But it may not be the flex that they think.
On another front, Meta also notes that it’s working to reduce the emissions impact associated with the display of digital collectibles by purchasing renewable energy
There are various moving parts here, but the broader view is that this is not about displaying your monkey pictures within Instagram as the end, but it’s more of a stepping stone to enable Meta to integrate the trading of digital goods into its tools, in a way that aligns with current usage trends, and doesn’t feel as intrusive as, say, Meta building its own crytocurrency.
That would raise more questions, and open the door to increased regulation. But by integrating similar tools, and aligning with popular trends, that could be a more organic way to merge in digital items and payments, without raising as many eyebrows in the process.
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