Facebook Releases New Climate Change Knowledge and Concern Data by Gender and Region
As part of its efforts to counter the spread of climate change misinformation on its platforms, Facebook has partnered with the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication to perform a new study to better understand people's attitudes toward climate change by region, as well as how concerned and knowledgeable they are about its effects.
The study, which includes responses from over 75,000 Facebook users, focuses on how men and women differ on many aspects of the climate crisis, providing some intriguing insight into the causes and impacts of rising global temperatures, as well as what will occur as a consequence.
According to Facebook:
“We found that a majority of people in about half of the countries and territories surveyed said they knew at least a moderate amount about climate change, led by Australia and Germany. However, in some countries, there were significant numbers of people who had little to no knowledge of climate change. This includes more than a quarter of people in Nigeria who reported that they had “never heard of it,” as well as substantial portions of people in Malaysia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Vietnam.”
This brings some fascinating insight into general attitudes and awareness of the subject, as well as how each country is approaching climate change. That isn't to argue that the communities in the lower half of the chart are oblivious to climate change; rather, it suggests that information isn't reaching these populations, many of whom may soon be dealing with more severe consequences.
As previously stated, the survey also illustrates the disparities in men and women's views on the climate crisis:
“While there is lower reported knowledge of climate change in less industrialized countries, there are larger gaps between genders in industrial countries such as the U.K., Canada, and the United States. We see significantly more men saying they know at least a moderate amount about climate change in these countries, highlighting the need to raise public awareness on the issue in both developed and developing countries.”
Of course, because this is based on self-reporting, more men claiming to know more about climate change may not be accurate. However, it's interesting to compare this to the graph below, which shows that women are more concerned about the issue than men on average.
Based on Facebook users, it's a fascinating insight into a major cultural issue and how men and women are reacting to it. This could indicate that these people acquire at least some of their climate information from Facebook, making this a useful indicator of how Facebook is influencing the climate debate.
In any case, as Facebook points out, women are more likely to be affected by the climate catastrophe, so it's understandable that they're concerned - but there's also a need for more education about the broader crisis and its worsening impacts.
Despite continued debate and government action, skepticism about the true causes of climate change remains reasonably strong across both genders, as shown above. It's difficult to say whether this is due to a lack of education, ongoing misinformation efforts, or simply a refusal to accept established facts, but the data shows that we still have a long way to go in convincing many millions of people that direct action is necessary and will have an impact on ensuring future quality of life.
On what is likely the most critical problem of our time, there are some key data points here. Which, based on these findings, a substantial proportion of people will deny - but the data here does demonstrate that more needs to be done to close important knowledge gaps, ensure that climate change science is understood equally, and that information reaches the proper audiences to raise awareness and action.
Facebook's full climate change study report may be found here.