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A Twitter account launched by the platform’s sustainability team was supposed to amplify the message of COP27, but Elon Musk fired the people working on it before the United Nations’ climate crisis conference had even begun.@TwitterEarth, which says in its bio that it is “uniting voices for a sustainable future,” has not Tweeted since the 4th of November. It has only amassed 492 followers.
It has not tweeted at all since COP27 began – despite @TwitterEarth saying “Twitter is the voice of COP27.”
Two of Twitter’s sustainability leaders were laid off at the beginning of the month as part of new owner and CEO Elon Musk’s cull of Twitter’s workforce. Casey Junod, was senior manager in the global sustainability team, and Sean Boyle had been head of sustainability.“That’s a wrap. Thanks for the mems [memories] Tweeps,” Junod tweeted on the 4th of November, the same day Boyle signed off and also the last day @TwitterEarth appears to have posted.
One of COP27’s key objectives is get new agreements limiting global temperature rises to 1.5C, but some delegates fear that target will be changed.Last week, climate analysts warned that Musk’s takeover and firing of sustainability executives could lead to a proliferation of climate misinformation. It appears it’s also affected the company’s own messaging and discussion of climate action around COP27. Researchers have documented visible links between social media posts about climate change and altering public perception.Sophia Kianni, a prominent youth activist and founder of Climate Cardinals, an international youth-led nonprofit translating climate information, had been approached by Boyle’s team to translate “Hello Earth” into as many languages as possible for the launch of a new account, @TwitterEarth, back in mid-October.
The account was soft launched on the 2nd of November ahead of COP27, which began 5 days later.The translations, of which Kianni’s team provided 22 phrases, were supposed to appear on the account’s Twitter banner – but it was never published.
Kianni told VICE World News over Twitter DM: “Platforms like Twitter are critical for raising awareness about the need for climate action and getting climate information to the masses. Twitter has allowed me to reach millions of people and is a powerful tool for elevating the visibility of social justice causes. “Young people particularly have been able to use social media to mobilise an unprecedented amount of people, as seen with the recent election results. It’s disappointing that the opportunity to have an official Twitter climate channel for credible information has been taken off the table. It could have made a really big impact in fighting disinformation that often runs rampant on social media platforms.”Twitter did not immediately respond to VICE World News when approached for comment.