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Twitter Announces Full Ban on Climate Change Denial in Ads

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Twitter Announces Full Ban on Climate Change Denial in Ads


I mean, this kind of feels like it should already be the case, but today, marking Earth Day 2022, Twitter has announced that it will now ban all ads which make claims that contradict scientific consensus on climate change and its impacts.

As explained by Twitter:

We believe that climate denialism shouldn’t be monetized on Twitter, and that misrepresentative ads shouldn’t detract from important conversations about the climate crisis […] We recognize that misleading information about climate change can undermine efforts to protect the planet. In the coming months, we’ll have more to share on our work to add reliable, authoritative context to the climate conversations happening on Twitter.” 

Twitter says that anti-climate change ads will be banned under its inappropriate content policy, while its approach in determining what is and is not correct will be informed by authoritative sources, like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Assessment Reports. 

Which is good, and it makes sense, especially given the depth of the evolving climate crisis – but as noted, it feels like this probably should have been the case already, right?

But actually, most social platforms don’t have an official policy on such in place.

Pinterest announced a full ban on climate change misinformation, in posts and ads, earlier this month, while back in October, Google announced that it would prohibit ads and monetization of YouTube videos that deny climate change. Meta includes climate change in its ‘sensitive topics’, which restricts brands from targeting ads based on such, but it doesn’t have a specific policy in place to stop ad content that includes climate misinfo (though it may, theoretically, come under the proviso that it prohibits ads which include content debunked by third-party fact checkers). Neither does Snap, despite both companies taking a strong stand against the same in other approaches.

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So while it may seem a little outdated, and like this should have been an official policy for some time, Twitter is actually somewhat ahead of the curve here, in taking dedicated, focused action on policing climate denial claims.

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Which is good, because again, scientific consensus is that human activity is a key contributor to global warming, and that we need to do all we can, right now, to avoid an impending crisis, which will eventually make many parts of the world uninhabitable, and will continue to cause major catastrophes like bushfires, tsunamis, and more.   

Denial is the default stance for some, because taking personal action requires personal effort, and it’s easier to point to heavy emitters, like big corporations and industries, and dismiss your own action as useless. But efforts to address climate change stretch to everyone, and if we all do what we can, we can all contribute to a better future, both in practice and by example, putting pressure on others to do the same.

Hopefully, other platforms will follow suit, and make climate change denial a specific banned element within their ad policies.





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‘Crime not to help’: South Korean ex-SEAL has no Ukraine regrets

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South Korean Navy SEAL turned YouTuber Ken Rhee told AFP he has no regrets about his decision to fight in Ukraine

South Korean Navy SEAL turned YouTuber Ken Rhee told AFP he has no regrets about his decision to fight in Ukraine – Copyright AFP Jung Yeon-je

Cat Barton and Kang Jin-kyu

A former South Korean Navy SEAL turned YouTuber who risked jail time to leave Seoul and fight for Ukraine says it would have been a “crime” not to use his skills to help.

Ken Rhee, an ex-special warfare officer, signed up at the Ukrainian Embassy in Seoul the moment President Volodymyr Zelensky asked for global volunteers and was fighting on the front lines near Kyiv by early March.

To get there, he had to break South Korean law — Seoul banned its citizens from travelling to Ukraine, and Rhee, who was injured in a fall while leading a special operations patrol there, was met at the airport by 15 police officers on his return.

But the celebrity ex-soldier, who has a YouTube channel with 700,000 followers and documented much of his Ukraine experience on his popular Instagram account, says he has no regrets.

“You’re walking down the beach and you see a sign by the water saying ‘no swimming’ — but you see someone drowning. It’s a crime not to help. That’s how I see it,” he told AFP.

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Rhee was born in South Korea but raised in the United States. He attended the Virginia Military Institute and planned to join the US Navy SEALS, but his father — a “patriot”, he says — convinced his son to return to South Korea to enlist.

He served for seven years, undergoing both US and Korean SEAL training and doing multiple stints in war zones in Somalia and Iraq before leaving to set up a defence consultancy.

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“I have the skillset. I have the experience. I was in two different wars, and going to Ukraine, I knew I could help,” he said, adding that he viewed breaking South Korea’s passport law to leave as equivalent to a “traffic violation”.

– Backlash in Korea –

But the reaction in South Korea — where Rhee shot to fame as a trainer in the popular YouTube series “Fake Men” — was swift and unforgiving.

“It was instant. People in Korea, they just criticised me about breaking the law,” said Rhee.

His critics claim the 38-year-old’s decision was criminally irresponsible, and point to his posting of war footage on his YouTube and Instagram accounts as evidence of showboating.

Rhee says he tries not to let the furore get to him. “I think it’s pretty obvious who the good guys are and who the bad guys are,” he said of Russia and Ukraine. 

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On his first day on the frontline in Irpin — which he describes as “the Wild West” and “chaos” — he says he witnessed Russian war crimes.

“I saw a civilian get shot. He was driving… and they shot him through the windshield and he died in front of us,” he said.

“It was like: there’s my proof. There’s definitely war crimes going on. It reminded me and my teammates what we were doing and why we were there,” he said.

Because of his military training, Rhee was told to set up his own team, so he recruited other volunteers with combat experience and set up a multi-national special operations group.

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“I was eating Canadian MREs. My gun was from the Czech Republic. I have a Javelin missile from the United States. I have a rocket that’s from Germany… but nothing is Korean,” he said.

He tried to take his Korean-made night vision goggles but was not given government export permission. Seoul has provided non-lethal aid to Kyiv, but Rhee said they could do more.

“Korea has state-of-the-art equipment… they’re very good at making weapons,” he said.

– ‘See you in Taiwan’ –

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Russia said this week that 13 South Koreans had travelled to Ukraine — including four who were killed. Seoul said it was trying to verify the claims.

Although Rhee did not know the fate of all his teammates, he said “a lot of my friends have died”.

“I don’t want my friends’ sacrifices to be forgotten,” he said, adding that he plans to write a book — and maybe a screenplay — about his team’s experiences.

But first, he needs to deal with the official repercussions of his trip. He is quietly optimistic South Korea’s new conservative administration won’t put him in jail.

Rhee is not allowed to leave the country until his case is resolved, and is receiving treatment for his injuries. But he hopes one day to fight alongside his teammates again, for a cause they believe in.

The joke as people left the frontline was: “See you in Taiwan,” he said, referring darkly to the risk that Beijing will follow Moscow’s lead and invade a neighbouring democracy.

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