Google To Kick Sites That Purvey Fake News Off Its AdSense Ad Network

Major entities are taking steps to crack down on the proliferation of fake news, and you can count Google among them. The sultan of search is putting together a new policy that would prevent websites from misrepresenting content on its AdSense advertising network, a move that won't totally get rid of fake news but will make it tougher for people to profit from it.

"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 said in a statement.


By using AdSense, advertisers can place text ads on millions of websites that are part of Google's network. The way it works is independent web publishers use AdSense to display ads on their sites that generate revenue when they're seen or clicked. Google collects the money from advertisers, then pays part of those ad dollars to publishers.

AdSense is a major source of income for many publishers, but it's also being abused with fake news and click-bait headlines that grossly misrepresent the actual content behind them. Google already had certain protections in place, such as disallowing ads that mislead consumers (weight-loss scams and so forth), and this latest move ads fake news to the list of things publisher aren't allowed to peddle for ad clicks.

Mere hours after Google announced the change in policy, Facebook followed suit with new language in its Facebook Audience Network.

"We have updated the policy to explicitly clarify that this applies to fake news," Facebooksaid in a statement. "Our team will continue to closely vet all prospective publishers and monitor existing ones to ensure compliance."

Facebook has been heavily criticized for letting fake news litter people's Feeds. Some have even blamed fake news on Facebook for contributing to Donald Trump defeating Hillary Clinton in the race for presidency, a notion that Mark Zuckerberg denies.