Big names cracking down on fake news sites

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Google, Facebook move to restrict ads on fake news sites

 By Julia Love and Kristina Cooke

Alphabet Inc's Google and Facebook Inc announced measures aimed at halting the spread of “fake news” on the internet by targeting how some purveyors of phony content make money: advertising.

Google said it is working on a policy change to prevent websites that misrepresent content from using its AdSense advertising network, while Facebook updated its advertising policies to spell out that its ban on deceptive and misleading content applies to fake news.

Facebook's steps are limited to its ad policies, and do not target fake news sites shared by users on their news feeds.

“We do not integrate or display ads in apps or sites containing content that is illegal, misleading or deceptive, which includes fake news,” Facebook said in a statement, adding that it will continue to vet publishers to ensure compliance.

Nor does Google suggest that the company has moved to a mechanism for rating the accuracy of particular articles.

Rather, the change is aimed at assuring that publishers on the network are legitimate and eliminating financial incentives that appear to have driven the production of much fake news.

“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,” Google said in a statement.

The company did not detail how it would implement or enforce the new policy.

AdSense, which allows advertisers to place text ads on the millions of websites that are part of Google's network, is a major source of money for many publishers.

Google has long had rules for its AdSense program, barring ads from appearing next to pornography or violent content. Work on the policy update announced on Monday began before the election, a Google spokeswoman said.

The company uses a combination of humans and artificial intelligence to review sites that apply to be a part of AdSense, and sites continue to be monitored after they are accepted, a former Google employee who worked on ad systems said. Google's artificial intelligence systems learn from sites that have been removed from the program, speeding the removal of similar sites.

The issue of fake news is critical for Google from a business standpoint, as many advertisers do not want their brands to be touted alongside dubious content. Google must constantly hone its systems to try to stay one step ahead of unscrupulous publishers, the former employee said.

Google has not said whether it believes its search algorithms, or its separate system for ranking results in the Google News service, also need to be modified to cope with the fake news issue.

Read full article and learn more about Deceptive Advertising here.

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