Google to treat fake-news websites like porn and ban its ads from them

What you read here is true. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the rest of the internet.

Although the web has been serving up fake news since its inception, the rise of social media has fueled a rise in the number of websites that acquire revenue-generating traffic via outrageous and often false stories shared widely on social media.

The most recent presidential campaign brought this issue into the light, with Facebook taking significant heat over made-up news stories in its news feed.

And on Nov. 14, Google felt some of the fire as well: Searches for “election results” brought up, in the top position, a false report by “an obscure right-wing blog” that President-elect Donald Trump won the popular vote.

But Google is now taking a stand against fake news. The company’s AdSense program connects website operators with advertisers, and is “the most popular tool for monetizing websites,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

But AdSense also “helps fund some fake-news sites,” the Journal reported.

Now, Google is putting together a policy update that will keep its ads off fake news sites, the firm told Reuters.

“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 spokeswoman Andrea Faville told Reuters, adding that the change was imminent.

The new policy will put fake news into what might be described as Google’s basket of deplorables: types of websites the company doesn’t want its ads running on.

“Google has long prohibited AdSense from being used on sites that promote hate speech or include pornography and violent content,” according to the Journal. “Its policies previously didn’t include language about sites that spread false content.”

A spokeswoman told the paper that the new policy would parallel existing bans on ads that misrepresent what they’re selling.

In other real news about fake news, California assemblywoman Melissa Melendez (Lake Elsinore) apparently prefers the latter and disdains the purveyors of the former. The Republican politician, revealed to have tweeted a link to a fake report about anti-Trump protesters fatally injuring a veteran. The website in question, the Christian Times Newspaper, has also presented articles saying that Hillary Clinton had filed for divorce and that she and her husband Bill were “actively involved in child sex trafficking,” the Los Angeles Times reported.

 

But it wasn’t the fake-news site Melendez took aim at when she was called out for tweeting a link to falsehood. She instead took a shot at purported bias in the mainstream media. “I had a bet with my husband that liberal reporters would flip out over a news story I shared. I won $20 thanks libs,” she tweeted, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Photo: A man walks past a building on the Google campus in Mountain View. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

 

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  • naanod

    So what if the people reporting fake news are also fake?

 
 
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