Over mounting criticism of encouraging fake news on their sites, Facebook and Google have announced measures to eliminate the use of their ad platforms for fake news. A barrage of accusations started coming in soon after the election results because many felt that Facebook and Google may have influenced the results of the recently concluded U.S. elections.
Fake news websites make money by directing traffic to their sites through the Facebook and Google’s ad platforms. Both the internet giants have admitted, to some extent, that their sites may have been misused, but announced on Monday that concrete steps would be taken to disallow such sites to take advantage of their sites.
Google said on Monday that they will take steps to disallow websites that “misrepresent, misstate, or conceal information about the publisher, the publisher’s content, or the primary purpose.” They already have a strict ban in place for pornography and hate sites.
Despite the announcement that necessary action will be taken to discourage fake news on FB, CEO Mark Zuckerberg was reluctant to admit that FB had a role in the outcome of the elections.
Speaking to interviewer David Kirkpatrick at the “Technonomy” conference, he said, “I do think there is a certain profound lack of empathy in asserting that the only reason someone could have voted the way they did is they saw some fake news.”
He went on to add, “If you believe that, then I don’t think you have internalized the message the Trump supporters are trying to send in this election.”
On a Facebook post of November 12, Zuckerberg wrote, “of all the content on Facebook, more than 99% of what people see is authentic. Only a very small amount is fake news and hoaxes.”
Both the companies in question have, according to numerous statements they have made, have updated their policies to ban false news sites from taking advantage of their advertising platforms. While Google’s advertising placement service is called AdSense, the Facebook Audience Network.” “FAN” lets brands advertise through this medium.
The source for making illegal profits by these fake and hoax news sites would diminish considerably if not totally eliminated by the new ad policies introduced by both Google and Facebook. A Google spokeswoman said in a statement to the Wall Street Journal, “We clearly didn’t get it right, but we are continually working to improve our algorithms”.
Mark Zuckerberg in a 13 Nov post wrote, “We don’t want any hoaxes on Facebook. Our goal is to show people the content they will find most meaningful, and people want accurate news. We have already launched work enabling our community to flag hoaxes and fake news, and there is more we can do here. We have made progress, and we will continue to work on this to improve further.”
Facebook and Google users and fans should appreciate the efforts being made by both the companies to weed out the menace of fake news. Who would want to be directed to a fake news site!? It’s going to be a tough challenge ahead of Google and Facebook to deliver on their pledges.