Facebook Users Break Guinness World Record and Tell The Social Networking Giant To Choose Renewable Energy

April 13, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO -- 13 APRIL 2011 – Eleven hours into their attempt, tens of thousands of Facebook users around the world established a Guinness World Record for the most comments to a Facebook post in 24 hours.(1) The Facebook users joined with Greenpeace to call on the social networking giant to start powering its services with renewable energy instead of coal and nuclear power.

The comments will be displayed for Facebook employees on a LED screen placed outside its California office, encouraging the company to meet Greenpeace’s Earth Day challenge to announce a plan that would phase out its use of coal power over the next decade.

“In places as diverse as Cairo and Madison, Wisconsin, Facebook is helping to foster activism and foment reform,” Greenpeace Campaigner Casey Harrell said. “This world record shows that people want Facebook to lead a new energy revolution by committing to phase out coal and power its transformative services with clean, safe renewable energy.”

The information technology sector is the fastest growing in the world in terms of electricity use. A Greenpeace report found that at current growth rates, data centers and telecommunication networks, two key components of the cloud that Facebook depends on to deliver its services, will consume in 2020 more than triple their current consumption and over half the current electricity consumption of the United States--more than France, Germany, Canada and Brazil combined. (2)

“By connecting its computing power to dirty energy sources, Facebook is lagging behind other IT companies like Google and Yahoo that are prioritizing the use of renewable energy in their business,” Harrell said. (3) “Greenpeace is calling upon Facebook to commit to a plan by Earth Day that phases out its use of coal over the next decade. It is time to for Facebook to step up and become a clean energy leader.”

Facebook will soon open the first of two new data centers, each of which will use enough electricity to power roughly 40,000 US homes. Greenpeace, along with almost 700,000 Facebook users, has called upon Facebook to “unfriend coal” and transition away from using 19th century technology to power its 21st century services. (4)

On April 21, at the Green: Net conference in San Francisco, Greenpeace will release a report detailing the environmental impact of cloud computing.


On site Contacts:

Daniel Kessler, Greenpeace International Communications Manager, +1 510 501 1779; email: dkessler@greenpeace.org

Casey Harrell, Greenpeace International Climate Campaigner based in San Francisco Mobile: +1 415 307 3382, email: casey.harrell@greenpeace.org

Images from the action are available at: photo.greenpeace.org and at Flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/greenpeaceusa09/sets/72157626358996835/show/

Notes to the editor:

1. Guinness will assess the validity of the number of comments on the Facebook post, found at www.facebook.com/unfriendcoal. An official result can be expected in about one week. The threshold for the record is 50,000 comments in 24 hours.

2. https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/en/media-center/reports/make-it-green-cloud-computing/

3. In terms of coal to power its services, Facebook uses about 55%, Yahoo 12.7%, and Google 34%.

4. A media briefing that includes the proactive steps Facebook can take and a new campaign video can be found at www.greenpeace.org/unfriendcoal

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