Pinterest bans climate change misinformation and conspiracy theories

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Pinterest app is seen on a smartphone in this illustration taken, July 13, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

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April 6 (Reuters) - Pinterest (PINS.N) is banning false and misleading climate change information and conspiracy theories in content and ads on its social media platform, it said on Wednesday.

The company said in a blog post it would not allow content that could "harm the public's well-being, safety or trust," such as material that denies the existence or impacts of climate change or the human influence on climate change.

It said it would also remove false or misleading content about climate change solutions that contradict scientific consensus, and material that misrepresents scientific data to erode trust in climate science. It said it would also prohibit harmful false or misleading content about public safety emergencies like natural disasters or extreme weather events.

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"We engaged with experts and heard from them over and over that this type of misinformation is causing real harm. It's impeding action on climate change and efforts to build a healthy planet," said Pinterest's head of policy Sarah Bromma in an interview.

Social media companies including Pinterest, an image-based platform that went public in 2019, have been under increasing pressure to curb harmful misinformation on their sites, though some lawmakers and users criticize tech platforms as overreaching in their content rules.

Alphabet's (GOOGL.O) Google said in October it would no longer allow ads that contradict scientific consensus on climate change on YouTube and its other services, though it said it would allow content that discusses false claims. read more

Pinterest, which said searches about greener lifestyles had been rising on its site, said it had partnered with groups including the Conscious Advertising Network to develop the policy based on common misinformation themes seen on platforms and said its rules could evolve as new narratives or trends emerged.

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Reporting by Elizabeth Culliford in New York; Editing by David Gregorio

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