Wednesday, October 27, 2021

How Facebook is going green

The social media giant is moving to ‘de-carbonise’ the website with a new design that limits its 1.4bn users to greener topics, says Eileen Burbidge

As we countdown to the start of COP23, the annual United Nations climate summit, global environmental leaders (including the head of Facebook) issued a call last week to action at the COP23 preparatory meeting in Bonn, Germany.

Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, the US tech giant’s co-founders, and CEO Sundar Pichai, its chief executive, along with other Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg and chief scientist Michael Sherwood, met in Berlin in late May to mark a new era for Facebook, which they announced would begin to “de-carbonise” the site in 2020.

“We want Facebook to be healthier. We want our site to be fairer and more thoughtful and more efficient,” Zuckerberg said in Berlin last week, noting that Facebook now accounts for about 15% of all carbon emissions in the world. “I think that it is important that we do things that are helping the planet, that are helping people, and that are also fulfilling people’s lives.”

The Facebook co-founders on a recent visit to Berlin. Photograph: Rajesh Gupta/Facebook

And it doesn’t want to burn more fuel to achieve this, but rather focus on a whole list of the site’s pages. The letter outlined six large areas of focus, including the environment, water, electric cars, safe buildings, sustainable agriculture and education.

The Guardian has asked Facebook for more detail on the changes, what they mean, what is already being done, and what can be done in the future to help get people off of fossil fuels and onto solar and wind power. Will Facebook have anyone powering its future by solar? And if so, by how much?

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