At last, after a while, Google and Facebook are finally taking a tiny step in reducing the fire against fake news. According to multiple statements by The Wall Street Journal, both companies have amended their policies to curb and ban fake news sites from accessing Google’s and Facebook’s advertising networks.
With the recent U.S. election, fake news have gained huge popularity on social networks, like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, as well as news aggregating services, with likes of Google News and articles from Google search results. Keep in mind that we’re not talking about opinion articles, but reports and fake news that blatantly spreads false information.
In their first policy update, Google said that the company will do all they can to cripple sites that “misrepresent, misstate, or conceal information.” Websites that don’t comply with this rule will be banned from Google AdSense.
Over to Facebook, the company has also released an update to its policy to ban fake news sites from accessing Facebook Audience Network.
Content publishers use Google AdSense and Facebook Audience Network to display ads on their websites. Ad inventories are managed by Google and Facebook and content publishers get a cut for the number of clicks or impressions.
Both companies have really strict policies imposed for their ad networks already. For example, when you’re on an explicit website, you can’t use Google AdSense. A combination of algorithms and human moderation is used by Google to decide whether a site is eligible to leverage on its advertising service.
Similar to legitimate business, removing a potential revenue stream makes the business of fake news a bit less lucrative. According to Buzzfeed, in a tiny city of Macedonia, they have discovered more than 100 fake news sites were created. So this makes it pretty clear it’s not just about influencing the election, but people with bad intentions are taking advantage of social networks to make money by spreading fake news.
Unfortunately, there’ll always be an alternative revenue streams, therefore this move will not be adequate. The best way to prevent fake news sites from spreading inaccurate news is to reduce the reach of these websites. Truth to be told, if social media giants such as Facebook, Twitter, Google News and other websites flagged fake news appropriately, fake news sites wouldn’t be created in the first place.
That being said, it’s always advised that you do not put your trust completely on Internet news. You should always obtain legitimate and accurate news from trusted websites and don’t spread news that are too good or too bad to be true. Like how the heads of a Hydra is, chop off one, one or multiple heads would regrow. So the next time you browse through your social media networks, be cautious, especially when you’re browsing with your smartphone as you risk losing your personal information to preying eyes.
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