To tweet is to pollute?

To tweet is to pollute?

The annual footprint of the social network would amount to the equivalent of 4,685 flights between Paris and New York

YOU may not realise it, but tweeting can be a source of pollution. In fact, tweets contribute to the digital carbon footprint, which represents 3.8% of global CO2 emissions, according to the think tank Green IT.

Twitter is estimated to emit the CO2 equivalent of nearly 5,000 flights between Paris and New York each year. And, in this regard, celebrities’ activity on the social network may not be insignificant.

Greenly, a carbon footprint specialist, has conducted a study on the carbon footprint of Twitter users, as of November 25, 2022. The social network currently has 486 million active users, with an average of 700 followers for each account.

For its calculation, Greenly took into account the average number of tweets posted daily (867 million), or about 316 billion tweets per year.

Considering that one tweet generates 0.026 g of CO2e, the annual footprint of the social network would amount to 8,200 tonnes of CO2e, or the equivalent of 4,685 flights between Paris and New York.

This significant footprint is mainly due to the use of energy-intensive data centers in countries where power production is heavily dependent on fossil fuels. Of the 5% of global greenhouse gas emissions from the digital sector, network traffic accounts for 19% and data centers for 15%.

And among the millions of accounts created on Twitter, some appear to be more energy-consuming than others, with those of celebrities taking the lead. In fact, with their millions of followers, public figures are the social network’s biggest polluters.

According to Greenly’s ranking of the 10 celebrities with the highest Twitter carbon footprint, Barack Obama tops the list. The former president of the United States surpasses Elon Musk and Justin Bieber.

Singers also contribute to the carbon footprint of the social network, since Katy Perry, Rihanna, Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga also feature in this ranking.

And while he may be the most influential personality on Twitter, the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, is only its ninth most polluting user.

So how are these accounts contributing so much to the platform’s carbon footprint? According to the research, it’s not the users’ significant activity in terms of tweets that makes the difference, but rather their number of followers.

The 10 most followed accounts on the application are reportedly responsible for 22.5 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year, or 0.26% of Twitter’s global emissions, which is equivalent to 13 Paris-New York flights.

Top 10 most polluting accounts on Twitter

(rank, account holder, number of followers, carbon footprint (tCOEe/year), equivalent number of Paris-New York flights)

1) Barack Obama – 133,400000 – 3.2 – 1.8
2) Elon Musk – 118,185,000 – 2.8 – 1.6
3) Justin Bieber – 113,800,000 – 2.7 – 1.6
4) Katy Perry – 108,900,000 – 2.6 – 1.5
5) Rihanna – 107,000,000 – 2.6 – 1.5
6) Cristiano Ronaldo – 104,300,000 – 2.5 – 1.4
7) Taylor Swift – 91,500,000 – 2.2 – 1.3
8) Lady Gaga – 84,900,000 – 2.0 – 1.2
9) Narendra Modi – 83,900,000 – 2.0 – 1.2
10) Ellen DeGeneres – 77,200,000 – 1.9 – 1.1

source – ETX Daily Up

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