Chances are that you have logged into Facebook today -- maybe it's open in another tab of your Internet browser right now -- but at what cost to the environment? A new video from Greenpeace is urging to social-media giant to change its dirty ways by kicking coal to the curb, part of the latest criticism facing Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg in regards to how the site's data-center in Oregon is to be powered.According to Greenpeace, the animated video entitled "The So Coal Network," was created to raise awareness about how Facebook intends to power it's new data-center -- yes, where all your online info will be stored. Instead of opting to run the facility with renewable energy, Facebook plans on using electricity made by burning coal.
Facebook can control where it builds its infrastructure; the power purchasing agreements it enters into; and how it uses its brand's power to advocate for strong policies that promote clean energy. Given all of the control Facebook does have, it can make a commitment to phase out coal and show the rest of the IT sector that it can be done.
While the decision is ultimately up to the executives of the world's largest social-networking site, Greenpeace hopes that its 500 million users should have a say as well. After all, its these same users whose online activity keep the site afloat.
Facebook's director of policy communications, Barry Schmidt, has issued a response to Greenpeace's call to 'unfriend' coal, stating that there is no other alternative to coal in the location selected to build the data center. "It is simply untrue to say that we chose coal as a source of power. The suggestions of 'choosing coal' ignores the fact that there is no such thing as a coal-powered data center," says Schmidt -- which certainly isn't the attitude one might expect from one of the Internet's most pioneering Web sites.