Are social media campaigns against palm oil highly successful?

Are social media campaigns against palm oil highly successful?

LIE: ‘social media campaigns against palm oil are highly successful‘ (archive)

Dennis, 2021 (

One of Athena’s foulest spins is her assertion that “social media campaigns against palm oil are highly successful“, a bullet-point in Teng et al 2020 that she adulterates. What Athena deliberately(?) ignores is that this paper aimed to ‘categorize relevant themes of public opinions toward palm oil and its environmental impacts by using online data from social media accounts‘ (emphasis added), that it covers ‘how the public debates over palm oil‘ and that its measure for success is ‘negative public opinions on palm oil‘ (emphasis added). The study does not determine the effects of boycotts on oil palm cultivation, palm oil demand, deforestation and/or rare, threatened and endangered habitats/species!

In contrast, science sketches a more sobering perspective of the impacts by boycotts:

‘You were either for or against a boycott of tropical timber: you either believed in the possibility of sustainable commercial forestry or you did not’

Pearce, 1991

‘The extreme organizations support consumer boycotts and/or government trade restrictions to minimize the trade in tropical wood products. The moderate position recommends the use of a number of education-oriented tools to address the problem, including certification programs.’

Ozanne & Smith, 1993

‘the deforestation effects of timber import boycotts of industrial countries, leading to a decrease in timber exported from Indonesia, are rather uncertain’

Kägi, 2000

‘measures directed at proximate causes – such as boycotts in developed markets against agricultural products that have caused deforestation – are likely to simply displace one cause of deforestation for another’

Douglas & Simula, 2010

‘the high costs of informing a boycott means that it is difficult to scale them up to effectively target more than a few target corporations or for them to affect national policy or legislation’

Walker et al, 2013

‘Well-intentioned beef boycotts potentially weaken the incentive to invest in pasture restoration and may lead to a counterfactual of extensive land use, and increased greenhouse gas emissions’

De Oliveira Silva et al, 2021

Boycotts for forests and wildlife mainly polarise the public discourse and there’s little or no evidence that they reduce deforestation or the loss of habitat and species. Clearly, Athena’s claim that social media campaigns are ‘highly successful‘ is more than ‘a little misleading‘.

Put me on the payroll and then spend the ensuing years hassle free.‘ (scrubbed; archive)

Dennis, 2013 (

Athena displays similar intellectual dishonesty when she misrepresents a scientific paper on consumers’ choices for boycotts or buycotts (Hoffman et al, 2018). This paper concludes that ‘hedonism’ increases the effects of environmental concerns and universalism but decreases the effects of social concern on buycotting, while ‘simplicity’ merely decreases the effects of social concern on boycotting . (The paper does not use the term ‘minimalism’!)

Only a twisted and deceptive mind would transpose these findings as meaning that ‘individuals who boycott value minimalism, individuals who ‘buycott’ value hedonism‘ (archive). This claim is – yet again – more than ‘a little misleading‘.

Read more here: Savage Nobles – Palm Oil Detectives

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