Greenpeace Slams Facebook Over Coal-Powered Data Centre

Greenpeace has stepped up its efforts to attack Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg over his decision to build a giant coal-powered data centre in Prineville, Oregon.

Inspired by the soon-to-be-released film "The Social Network", Greenpeace has produced a two minute long animated film on its site, called "The So-Coal Network", to campaign against the building of the data centre.

Greenpeace claims that Facebook could use its brand power "to advocate for strong policies that promote clean energy."

The organisation added: "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."

The move follows an open letter sent to Zuckerberg, calling for him to "unfriend" coal, PCR Online reports.

In response to the letter, Facebook’s director of policy communications Barry Schmidt defended the company's decision.

"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 centre," he said.

"Similarly, there is no such thing as a hydroelectric-powered data centre."

"Every data centre plugs into the grid offered by their utility or power provider. The electrons powering that data centre are produced by the various sources (e.g. hydro, natural gas, coal, geothermal, wind, etc.) the provider uses in proportions similar to the mix of sources used.”

Despite the response, Greenpeace believes that weight of public opinion could sway the social networking giant's decision.

"Facebook responds to public pressure. We can get facebook to unfriend coal, and show the rest of the IT sector what we're made of," Greenpeace said.