The climate change-denial tag "ClimateScam" has become a top search term on Twitter, prompting monitors to warn Monday of a rise in misinformation following Elon Musk's takeover of the platform.
Typing "climate" in Twitter's generic search bar returned "ClimateScam" as the top suggested result, followed by "ClimateAction" and "ClimateEmergency".
Analysts and campaigners have warned of a surge in misinformation on Twitter since the billionaire Tesla boss bought it and fired thousands of staff including content moderators.
"Elon Musk's acquisition of Twitter seems to be emboldening right-wing contrarians to 'test' him (i.e. the platform's content moderation policy), making statements that contain various types of misinformation including around climate," said Climate Action Against Disinformation (CAAD), a group that analyses trends in false information on social media.
"These posts most often draw on culture wars and energy narratives, and dozens have included similar (if not identical) formats across Twitter as well as Facebook."
Its comment came in a report on misinformation trends during COP27, the UN climate summit in Egypt.
Researchers and campaigners say that despite measures announced by social platforms, climate misinformation is thriving, undermining belief in climate change and the action needed to tackle it.
Twitter and other tech giants such as Facebook and Google have said they are acting to make false claims less visible.
But the Institute for Strategic Dialogue think tank said in a detailed study this year that messages aiming to "deny, deceive and delay" regarding climate action were prevalent across social media.
Musk promised to reduce Twitter's content restrictions and announced plans after the takeover to create a "content moderation council" to review policies.
Scientists overwhelmingly agree that humans are heating the planet by burning fossil fuels, despite contrary conspiracy narratives thriving online.
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said in its 2021 report: "It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land."
It warned that carbon emissions must be cut to avoid the worst impacts.