Greenpeace Launches Its Latest Anti-Facebook Volley

Greenpeace Launches Its Latest Anti-Facebook Volley

Editor's Note: Facebook responded to this post with a statement, which has been appended to the bottom of the post.

"The Social Network" it certainly isn't, but Greenpeace today unveiled the latest front in its battle to get Facebook to change its coal-powered-data-center ways.

Timed to the release in two weeks of a feature film about the at-times-seamy beginnings of Facebook, Greenpeace has put together its own satire of the company's history.

The video, at www.greenpeace.org/coalfacebook, is a silly little two-minute animation about how Zuckerberg came to build Facebook and how it's powered by coal-fired power plants. But behind the video is a list of four actions Greenpeace is urging Facebook to take to become what Greenpeace calls a "Cool IT leader:"

1. Commit to stop using polluting coal power,
2. Use its purchasing power to choose only clean, renewable sources of electricity,
3. Advocate for strong climate and energy policy changes at the local, national and international level to ensure that as the IT industry's energy demand increases, so does the supply of renewable energy,
4. Share this information publicly on its website so its millions of users know the company is a climate leader.

 

The new video is the latest volley in the at-times one-sided dustup between Facebook and Greenpeace. It all started in January when Facebook announced plans to build a green data center in Prineville, Ore. Greenpeace and a number of other groups then dug into the power generation mix for the region and found it largely relies on coal power. Cue the campaign, which is taking place on Facebook itself and other fronts, where Greenpeace claims half a million users backing its call for cleaner energy in Facebook's data center.

The campaign has yet to make Facebook blink, and last month the company said it was doubling the size of its data center, to boot.

So will this movie make a difference in Facebook's power plans? That obviously remains to be seen. But it does call to light the fact that companies will need to start taking seriously where their power comes from -- whether for data centers or not.

Update, 2:30pm 9/16/10: Facebook emailed a statement in response to this story, from spokesman Barry Schnitt:

We agree wholeheartedly with Greenpeace's goal of environmental responsibility but disagree on how best to achieve it. As other environmental experts have established, the watts you never use are the cleanest and so our focus is on efficiency. We've invested thousands of people hours and tens of millions of dollars in efficiency technology, including software that reduces demand for servers by 50 percent. We have made this software available for free to any company, which could dramatically reduce the power needs of an entire industry. We would welcome the opportunity to explain these efforts in a constructive dialogue but we're disappointed that the conversation with Greenpeace has degraded to an inaccurate and personal attack.