After all the bogus headlines you had to deal with during the 2016 election, this will come as welcome news.
Google and Facebook have had decided it’s time to hit those sites where it hurts: in the wallet.
Both companies have decided that news sites pushing intentionally deceptive clickbait are no longer welcome on their advertising networks.
Google is tweaking their AdSense policies to specify that sites they believe “misrepresent, misstate, or conceal information” can and will be banned. Facebook made a similar tweak to their own policy, telling the Wall Street Journal that they will “vigorously enforce [their] policies and take swift action against sites and apps that are found to be in violation.”
While that won’t make these sites disappear overnight, it’s certainly going to make an impact. There are plenty of alternative advertising networks out there that these shady publishes will no doubt turn to, but AdSense and Facebook will be tough to replace.
As welcome as it is to see Google and Facebook take a stand, some, like TechCrunch’s Romain Dillet, wonder if there isn’t a better way to deal with this particular plague.
How? Flagging fake news stories would be a heck of a good start, and you’d think with all the tweaks Google has managed to cook up for its search algorithms over the years that it wouldn’t be all that hard for them to pull off.
Facebook, well… that might be a little tougher. Their robot news editors haven’t really been doing a great job since they took over for human curators.
Then again, you and I can glance at an image like the one TechCrunch shared, note the use of “most epic” and “awesome move,” raise our eyebrows at the URL americannews.com and immediately discount this story as utter crap. You’d think it would be pretty easy to weed it out with software, too.
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