Google and Facebook to cut ad revenue to sites pushing ‘fake news’

Following the impact of misinformation fed by fake news sites on the recent US presidential elections, Google and Facebook have declared that they would block advertising revenue to fake news sites which mislead online users.

This was because the information peddled by these “news” sites usually contain sensational and often inaccurate information about election candidates Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and public figures associated with them, with some articles even going viral.

According to a Google spokesperson, the company has updated its publisher policies and now prohibits Google ads from being placed on misrepresentative content, just as it has disallowed misrepresentation in its ads policies.

"Moving forward, we will restrict ad serving on pages that misrepresent, misstate, or conceal information about the publisher, the publisher's content, or the primary purpose of the web property," the spokesperson added.

Facebook has taken a similar stance according to AFP in an article found on The Straits Times, where a spokesperson shared that the social media giant does not display ads into applications and web pages with content which is illegal, deceptive and misleading – this includes fake news. It has since updated its audience network policy to explicitly clarify that this applies to fake news.

Marketing has reached out to Facebook for comment.

The move follows a recent Facebook post by Zuckerberg, which addressed the impact of fake news on Donald Trump’s controversial win during the US elections, and Facebook’s role in the matter.

“Of all the content on Facebook, more than 99% of what people see is authentic. Only a very small amount is fake news and hoaxes. The hoaxes that do exist are not limited to one partisan view, or even to politics. Overall, this makes it extremely unlikely hoaxes changed the outcome of this election in one direction or the other,” Zuckerberg said.

He explained that the social media giant has already launched work to enable its community to flag hoaxes and fake news.

Moreover, recent events have called for Facebook to reconsider its stance to be known as a technology company, rather than a media owner, according to the newswire. To this, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (pictured) himself claimed that the social media platform will not become a media company.