FrackFeed Puts New Focus on Anti-Science ‘Ban Fracking’ Campaign

Thursday, July 02, 2015

A new website is drawing attention to the fracking issue in a way that has never been done before.

FrackFeed.com was recently launched by North Texans for Natural Gas, a grassroots program of over 110,000 people who support drilling in the Barnett Shale. It’s about educating the public on fracking, as well as exposing how anti-fracking groups have denied science in their campaign to ban American energy development.

 But if you’re looking for technical papers and long educational videos, you’re going to be disappointed. FrackFeed instead leverages engaging content and interactivity, with a platform built for the digital age in which we’re living.

What does that mean, exactly? It’s best described by example.

Most of us know that the Gasland movies – the first one and the even more pathetic sequel – were built on instilling fear through misinformation. But half a decade after Gasland’s release, people are still discovering the film. Even worse, some still think it’s an objective documentary!

The reason isn’t because no one has exposed the film’s flaws. Critics from across the country have done precisely that. But people increasingly are getting their news on social media, through content that appears in their networks when they login. A September 2014 Pew Poll found that 30 percent of U.S. adults get their news on Facebook. The American Press Institute released results in March 2015 that showed a whopping 88 percent of people ages 18-34 who use Facebook also get their news from the social media site.

Many of them want to digest key facts quickly, and with Facebook’s ever-evolving algorithm dictating what does and doesn’t appear in news feeds, there’s a need for pithy, engaging content that will meet people where they’re looking.

The answer? FrackFeed’s popular listicle, Don’t Get ‘Lost’ in the 9 Biggest Lies Gasland Told Us, which quickly untangles the film’s more dubious claims.

But don’t mistake this for a lack of evidence. All of the content is firmly backed up by scientific research, regulatory determinations – and, of course, a healthy dose of common sense. It just dispenses with the longform, text-heavy analyses on which supporters of oil and gas development have generally relied.

For many years, anti-fracking activists have been waging a misleading and unserious campaign against American energy development, and they have effectively used social and digital media to accuse the industry of some pretty heinous and baseless things. Hollywood actors and actresses, meanwhile, have said fracking will kill “the whole world” and that there are no economic impacts from banning the process.

It’s important that the public is aware of these silly accusations – not just because we all like to laugh, but also because we should never confuse political activism with hard science.

So, what will you find on FrackFeed.com?

There are quizzes (“Frack or Fiction?”), memes (“Fracking: Because Celebrities’ Jets Don’t Run on Solar Power”), listicles (“25 Things You Didn’t Know Were Made with Natural Gas”), and other humorous content.

The site has garnered national attention, with local coverage from Ohio to California, and attracted visitors from as far away as the United Kingdom and Australia. It’s also confounding anti-fracking activists who thought they had a monopoly on digital channels. Blogs that frequently parrot anti-fracking talking points have even mocked FrackFeed.

Indeed, FrackFeed has clearly emerged as a threat to the multi-million dollar political campaign against fracking. For example, Adam Briggle, a philosophy professor and the president of Frack Free Denton, recently took issue with some FrackFeed content that conveyed how efforts to ban drilling and fracking in Denton, Tex., have cost local taxpayers $1 million, making it by far the most expensive ban in America.

The exchange made web history: it was the first time a real-life philosophy professor tried to have a debate with the Philosoraptor.

Read the full article here.

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