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Google says it will crack down on fake news sites by banning them from ad sales

The change comes on the heels of an embarrassing search result blunder.


Samantha Grasso


Published Nov 15, 2016   Updated May 25, 2021, 2:22 pm CDT

Google says it plans to crack down on the number of fake news sites found in its search results by prohibiting those sites from using its ad-selling software, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Google will be updating its policies to ban “pages that misrepresent, misstate, or conceal information about the publisher, the publisher’s content, or the primary purpose” from using Google Ads, as a means to put a dent in the revenue of fake news sites. Google’s AdSense is the most popular tool for monetizing websites, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The move comes a day after the Washington Post reported that Google’s leading “in the news” search result for final election numbers came from fake news blog called 70 news. 

The post alleged that President-elect Donald Trump had won the popular vote over Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton by 700,000 votes. Clinton won the popular vote, and the margin between her and Trump stands at about 700,000 votes.

Alongside Google, Facebook is also responding to assertions that the spread of fake news played a role in the outcome of the election

Though Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg originally said the idea that fake news distributed on the platform affected the election was “crazy,” the company is targeting fake news through ad sales, too.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Facebook will explicitly ban sites that peddle fake news from using the Facebook Audience Network. A spokesperson said these sites fall under the category of misleading, illegal, or deceptive sites already barred.

“While implied, we have updated the policy to explicitly clarify that this applies to fake news,” a Facebook spokesman said. “We vigorously enforce our policies and take swift action against sites and apps that are found to be in violation. Our team will continue to closely vet all prospective publishers and monitor existing ones to ensure compliance.”

H/T: The Wall Street Journal

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*First Published: Nov 15, 2016, 10:59 am CST