Facebook is officially putting an end to fake news and has announced a ban on such sites using its advertising network. For now, that should put a damper on their ad revenue. The move follows a similar maneuver by Google Alphabet, adding an updated policy to its documentation that should restrict how many fabricated news stories users will see.
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These updates come in light of recent criticism following the US election 2016 that saw fake news reaching an unprecedented level of popularity across Facebook and other social networks. However, such reports gave inaccurate information and have been partially blamed for the election result.
Google said it would ban sites that “misrepresent, misstate, or conceal information”, whilst Facebook is cutting the lifeline of such sites by filtering its Audience Network ads. This should make it less profitable for fraudulent news aggregates to use Facebook and share claims.
A spokesperson for Facebook clarified:
“While implied, we have updated the policy to explicitly clarify that this applies to fake news. We vigorously enforce our policies and take swift action against sites and apps that are found to be in violation. Our team will continue to closely vet all prospective publishers and monitor existing ones to ensure compliance.”
Similarly, Google AdSense does not allow for fraudulent sites or porn websites to be advertised across its network.
However, as of right now, there are other social avenues fraudulent publishers could explore and these will have to update their policies accordingly if fake news are to be prevented web-wide.