Google has announced plans to ban websites that receive traffic through misinformation from its third-party ad services (Adsense).
The search giant said Monday night that it would ban all publishers with articles intended to mislead or deceive readers from its AdSense network, the platform through which Google sells display ads to independent sites across the web.
“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,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement.
The company said the update was intended to match similar policies it already has in place to block deceitful ads such as weight-loss scams or false drug promises.
The Wall Street Journal first reported this Google policy change earlier on Monday.
The move comes as last week’s election results bring online platforms under increased scrutiny over how much responsibility they have to ensure the veracity of the news they help circulate.
Facebook, which has born the brunt of this backlash, repeatedly surfaced demonstrably false news stories in its trending topics section in the months leading up to the election — a disproportionate number from right-wing conspiracy sites.
But even Google News, which supposedly tightly regulates the accuracy of stories that appear in its results, is not immune, it seems. Hours before Google made the change, the top news item when users searched for “election results” was an erroneous post claiming Donald Trump had won the popular vote.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has repeatedly denied that hoaxes have any effect on public opinion among users, but it seems not everybody at the company agrees. BuzzFeed reports that a group of “renegade employees” have formed a tact team to take on the scourge of fake news on the platform.
Is this fight against fake news a good one or bad news, tell us your opinions via comments.