Following complaints over rumor-mongering websites propagating fake news, Google and Facebook responded that they will now starting acting on errand sites by banning them. In a media release to AFP news, Google said that they will “start prohibiting Google ads from being placed on misrepresentative content, just as we disallow misrepresentation in our ads policies.”
The chief executive of Google confirmed the new policy in a recent interview with BBC and said that “there should be no situation where fake news gets distributed”.
“I don’t think we should debate it as much as work hard to make sure we drive news to its more trusted sources, have more fact checking and make our algorithms work better, absolutely.”
Facebook is similarly placing a ban on fake pages, and in its media statement, it says:
“In accordance with the Audience Network Policy, we do not integrate or display ads in apps or sites containing content that is illegal, misleading or deceptive, which includes fake news. While implied, we have updated the policy to explicitly clarify that this applies to fake news.”
However, Facebook is adamant on remaining as a neutral platform instead of being a media company where it has to make editorial judgment to decide what gets published and what’s not.
Facebook’s chief, Mark Zuckerberg, denied allegations that fake news propagation contributed to Donald Trump’s win. Mark Zuckerberg also highlighted that articles run by mainstream media backed by governments also tend to be erroneous sometimes.
“Identifying the truth is complicated. While some hoaxes can be completely debunked, a greater amount of content, including from mainstream sources, often gets the basic idea right but some details wrong or omitted.”