Google and Facebook to restrict ads on fake news sites after the shock presidential victory

The two web giants have been sharply criticised for spreading fake news that influenced the Trump-Clinton presidential debate. And now they’re taking remedial action.

Google and Facebook, two of the world’s biggest web companies, have announced that they will take action against the spread of fake news on the internet. The companies based in the Silicon Valley took this decision following strong criticism over how this phenomenon partially influenced the outcome of the US presidential elections, according to many observers.

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Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder © Getty Images

The new policy

Google announced it updated its policy to clamp down on fake news sites: “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”.

Facebook, on its part, updated the language in its Facebook audience network policy. The policy already stated it banned ads in sites that spread “misleading or illegal content”, and now it also clarifies that the ban also applies to fake news. “Our team will continue to closely vet all prospective publishers and monitor existing ones to ensure compliance”, Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement.

Were fake news sites pro-Trump?

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According to the American media, most of the fake news articles that were spread during the presidential campaign were prejudicial to Hillary Clinton © Getty Images

Facebook was accused to be the perfect vehicle of false information because its algorithm tends to expose posts with the most shares and engagements, no matter their accuracy. The fake articles appeared during the presidential campaign may have contributed to the popularity of the newly-elected US president Donald Trump. According to a recent analysis conducted by the American website Buzzfeed, anti-Clinton fake articles spread on the internet during the presidential campaign almost double the amount of anti-Trump fake news items. The most uproarious fake news release was the one on the democratic candidate’s health that would have convinced many people not to vote for her.

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