Facebook, Google to take fake news seriously
After election criticism, companies will cut ad cash flow to bogus sites
Facebook and Google are getting real about fake news sites.
Following an avalanche of criticism about how each company inadvertently highlights fabricated headlines and content, the companies say they are pulling ads on such sites.
The actions are intended to sti- fle the lifeblood of click- bait sites that flourished during the campaign — advertisements.
Google said it 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. Its get- tough stance was underscored by CEO Sundar Pichai, who Tuesday told the BBC’s Kamal Ahmed that fake news might have swung enough votes toward President- elect Donald Trump to influence the election.
“It is important to remember this was a very close election and so, just for me, looking at it scientifically, one in 100 voters voting one way or the other swings the
“From our perspective, there should just be no situation where fake news gets distributed, so we are all for doing better here.” Google CEO Sundar Pichai
election either way,” Pichai said. “From our perspective, there should just be no situation where fake news gets distributed, so we are all for doing better here.”
Facebook said it was updating its Audience Network Policy, which prohibits display ads in apps or sites containing content that is illegal, misleading or deceptive, including fake news. “While implied, we have updated the policy to explicitly clarify that this applies to fake news,” Facebook said in a statement.
Social media and other types of techy that broadly disseminate information to billions of people worldwide have become the focus of a national debate on their culpability in amplifying misinformation during the election.
Facebook has received the most criticism for surfacing fake news in users’ newsfeeds that some say tilted the election in favor of Trump — an assertion CEO Mark Zuckerberg has dismissed. He said 99% of news on the social network is “authentic” and vowed to weed out fake news.
Liberal advocacy group Media Matters for America on Tuesday launched a petition for Zuckerberg and Facebook to “acknowledge the problem of the proliferation of fake news on Facebook” and fix it.
“What Zuckerberg has essentially done is say we have no responsibility,” says Drew Margolin, a professor of communication at Cornell University. “Facebook did not choose to have responsibility, but they are going to have to define a general standard of policy around what can be shared, how it is filtered and offer some form of algorithmic transparency.
“With 1.8 billion members, ( Facebook) can’t hide from the influence it has,” Margolin says.