After Election, Google, Facebook Vow to Cut Off Fake News Sites

December 1, 2016

[chris dorney/shutterstock]
[chris dorney/shutterstock]

Responding to claims that fake news may have influenced the presidential election’s outcome, on Nov. 14, Google and Facebook announced that they will fight misinformation by targeting the revenue sources of fake news sites.

As The New York Times reported, Google said it would ban websites that peddle fake news from using its online advertising service, and Facebook said it would extend its policy of not displaying ads on sites that show misleading or illegal content to now include fake news.

Critics accuse Facebook of swinging voters in favor of President-elect Donald J. Trump through misleading and inaccurate stories that spread via the social network, such as one false report that Pope Francis had endorsed Trump. Critics also claim that Google gave too much prominence to false news stories. Google says software algorithms determine how news stories are ranked in its search results.

in a post following the election, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, wrote that 99 percent of what people see on the social network is authentic, making it “extremely unlikely hoaxes changed the outcome of this election….”

Facebook’s updated policy only pertains to ads, and will not affect news stories that spread through posts that people see from friends. Reaching a reported 1.8 billion people around the world, Facebook is one of the largest distributors of news online. More than two million independent web publishers use Google to display advertising on their sites.  — Greg Beaubien

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