Google Will Punish "Fake News" Websites By Halting Ads

Tyler Durden's picture

One of the more perplexing theories to emerge explaining the failure of Hillary Clinton's presidential bid, is that popular news curators and aggregators such as Google and Facebook had distributed news created by "fake" and "false" websites, thus influencing public opinion.  So, in an attempt to curb such websites, a move some consider tantamount to censorship, Google and Facebook announced measures aimed at halting the spread of "fake news" on the internet by targeting how the creators of this alleged "phony content" make money: advertising.

Google said it is working on a policy change to prevent websites that misrepresent content from using its AdSense advertising network, while Facebook updated its advertising policies to spell out that its ban on deceptive and misleading content applies to fake news. Considering the amount of fingerpointing by much of the liberal press in the aftermath of Nov. 8 we wonder if websites such as CNN would be captured by this filter.

"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. The company did not detail how it would implement or enforce the new policy, which some accuse is the monetary equivalent of censorship.

The shifts comes as Google, Facebook and Twitter face a backlash over the role they played in the U.S. presidential election by allowing the spread of false and often malicious information that might have swayed voters toward Republican candidate Donald Trump. Of course, others have repeatedly accused both Google (which chairman Eric Schmidt's collaboration with the Clinton campaign was revealed courtesy of the Podesta emails), and Facebook of doing everything in their power to promote a Clinton win, so the narrative is not exactly clear on this one.

Reuters reports that the issue provoked a fierce debate within Facebook especially, with Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg insisting twice in recent days that the site had no role in influencing the election. Facebook's steps are limited to its ad policies, and do not target fake news sites shared by users on their news feeds.

"We do not integrate or display ads in apps or sites containing content that is illegal, misleading or deceptive, which includes fake news," Facebook said in a statement, adding that it will continue to vet publishers to ensure compliance.

Google also does not address the issue of fake news or hoaxes appearing in Google search results. That happened in the last few days, when a search for 'final election count' for a time took users to a fake news story saying Trump won the popular vote. Votes are still being counted, with Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton showing a slight lead. Nor does Google suggest that the company has moved to a mechanism for rating the accuracy of particular articles. Instead, Google's change is aimed at assuring that publishers on the network are legitimate and eliminating financial incentives that appear to have driven the production of much fake news.

Effectively, Adsense is hoping to starve providers of "fringe" news by cutting them off from what to many is their chief source of funding.

AdSense, which allows advertisers to place text ads on the millions of websites that are part of Google's network, is a major source of money for many publishers. 

Facebook has been widely blamed - by the left-leaning mainstream media - for allowing the spread of online misinformation, amusingly much of it pro-Trump, but Zuckerberg has rejected the notion that Facebook influenced the outcome of the election or that fake news is a major problem on the service. "Of all the content on Facebook, more than 99 percent of what people see is authentic," he wrote in a blog post on Saturday. "Only a very small amount is fake news and hoaxes."

As Reuters adds, Google has long had rules for its AdSense program, barring ads from appearing next to pornography or violent content. Work on the policy update announced on Monday began before the election, a Google spokeswoman said. The company uses a combination of humans and artificial intelligence to review sites that apply to be a part of AdSense, and sites continue to be monitored after they are accepted, a former Google employee who worked on ad systems said. Google's artificial intelligence systems learn from sites that have been removed from the program, speeding the removal of similar sites.

The issue of fake news is critical for Google from a business standpoint, as many advertisers do not want their brands to be touted alongside dubious content. Google must constantly hone its systems to try to stay one step ahead of unscrupulous publishers, the former employee said.


Google has not said whether it believes its search algorithms, or its separate system for ranking results in the Google News service, also need to be modified to cope with the fake news issue.


Fil Menczer, a professor of informatics and computing at Indiana University who has studied the spread of misinformation on social media, said Google's move with AdSense was a positive step.


"One of the incentives for a good portion of fake news is money," he said. "This could cut the income that creates the incentive to create the fake news sites."


However, he cautioned that detecting fake news sites was not easy. "What if it is a site with some real information and some fake news? It requires specialized knowledge and having humans (do it) doesn't scale," he said.

While Google and Facebook have every right to tweak their ad policies however they see fit - especially if in the process their own ad revenue decline, as both companies retain a portion of the ad proceeds they pay out to content providers - the move is yet another step on a slippery slope, one which begins with determining just what is considered "fake news" and end with blanket internet censorship along ideological lines. Which we find especially ironic considering much of the "pro Clinton" press was terrified that it would be Trump who would be the one to hint at or enforce censorship. It seems the media does not need Trump for that: it can do it quite well on its own.

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unrulian's picture ZH will work on my cell again?

Looney's picture


MSM = Main Stream chlaMydia   ;-)


TeamDepends's picture

And we shall punish Google by saying, "What is Google, a child's toy?"

wildbad's picture

they already do this. No mention of delisting or search manipulation..hmm

VinceFostersGhost's picture



Google Will Punish "Fake News" Websites By Halting Ads mean like Hillary will win in a landslide....that fake news?


She's way ahead in the polls.....and then she loses in a landslide......that fake news?


Can I get a definition of what fake news actually means.....cause I'd love to hear it!

Draybin Deffercon III's picture
Draybin Deffercon III (not verified) VinceFostersGhost Nov 15, 2016 7:47 AM

Just use for searches.

There is nothing that Google offers that someone else does not.

Haus-Targaryen's picture

Tylers, I've been saying this for years.  

Offer some $500/year "Premium Member" option with a few niceties (being able to post pictures in comments, allow underline, perhaps allow for "sponsored" post once a quarter) you'd have a dozen or so takers on it. 

I'd be one of them. 

Handful of Dust's picture

I guess they'll have to take NYT and CNN off line then.

Future Jim's picture

More censorship makes Trump more popular.

MalteseFalcon's picture

As part of the anti-trust crusade against the media oligarchs, Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit need to be broken into pieces.


Things that go bump's picture

I've switched over to Opera on the recommendation of another poster and I'm very satisfied with it. 

jimsoong25's picture

Google spying is much worse than most people know.  I've been using NoScript for years.  I have Google blocked but am forced to temporarily enable it to do certain work.  For instance, today I was buying food on Boston Market's website.  I couldn't add the food to the cart.  I had to temp enable Google in NoScript to add items to the cart to complete the sell.  Also, I use PIA's VPN (cheap and effective, no logs).  I frequently use PIA VPN/Proxy's from Brazil, Mexico and Romania.  I often get prompted by Captcha to choose various blocks in pictures to ensure I'm not a bot.  Well, unless Google is temp enabled in NoScript, I can't authenticate in Captcha.  So, Google is the server side authenticating for all these websites using that system.  Google's tenacles reach far and wide.  To people suggesting the use of Bing.  I'd be willing to bet that Google and Bing share info as per the 3rd party agreements so that they can complete each others databases.  It's beneficial to both parties.  Don't use Google-Bing! 

auricle's picture

There will be no censorship of the internet. Anybody who even suggests it should be boycott. I'm going to be moving away from google. The search results tinkering was pissing me off. This is where I jump off. byebye google. 

Cheka_Mate's picture

Now it's 1984, knock knock on your front door.  It's the suede denim secret police, and they've come for your uncool niece.

California Uber Alles, California Uber Alles...

True Blue's picture

+10 for the Dead Kennedys

legalize's picture

You can post pictures in comments as HTML links to images hosted elsewhere.

turnoffthewater's picture

What's a google? Is that like a unicorn?

mkhs's picture

A mathematical term.  1 followed by 100 zeros.

Sokhmate's picture

That would be Googol

Nunya Bidness Gogl's picture

Yep, that's what I use too, for now.

In the future, as the Orwellian nightmare censorship crackdown continues, we may need to move to some sort of decentralized, peer to peer search. There are already a number of interesting projects in that area.

In general, I think the latter is a better model for almost everything (food distribution, economy, state power, etc.) but of course that is the opposite position from TPTB, because they can't make any money off of it.

But I think that is the future. Decentralized everything, I mean.

Uncertain T's picture

That's how the Internet was.... peer to peer....  We used "web rings" and courtesy links.  The PTB won't be allowing a return to this system... too much lack of control.  

floomby's picture

Well turns out decentralized dns is basically a non starter (doesn't work for theoretical reasons). Although dnssec can help out a bit with at least knowing if you are being censored/blocked. As for searching there are similar problems to dns but they can be solved statistically relatively simply.

G-ray's picture

I enjoy using Russia's Yandex engine.

Gentle-Giant's picture

Or use and switch over to Linux wich has become very user friendly over the years.

jmack's picture

   you can use a program called virtual box, or similar programs, to test drive linux on your current install.  there are youtubes to explain how to set it up and what not.

jmack's picture

How about "hands up, dont shoot"?


NBC and CNN are both purveyors of mass amounts of fake news.

StychoKiller's picture

Hmm, so no more Soylent Green or instant water, then?   Whatever shall I do? :>D

Secret Weapon's picture

So will Google and FB punish the ass holes in DC for all the fake news the Feds put out?  Employment numbers, inflation rate, GDP, etc.?  Oh, thats right.  Google is evil and works for the organized crime operation in DC. Never mind.

Things that go bump's picture

Of course not. They fully support and disseminate that fake news. They are speaking of non-government approved news. If it's not government approved news it's fake news. I miss the wild and wooly days of the early internet. 

Kayman's picture

A Google is a cancer. Bust Google up. Too much power. Abused by mental midgets.

purplelama's picture

Turn off javascript, and it works just fine.

bluez's picture

It will be quite interesting if the free open source community starts to develop technological solutions.

Meanwhile, someone will start a website that lists all the Google promoted advertisers so they can be boycotted.

Kayman's picture

There are 60 million pocket books that might be persuaded to boycott all of Googles advertisers.  And I don't think many of them have SNAP cards.

American Psycho's picture

Too funny!  I gave up trying to read during seminars as I was always fearful of the audio randomly starting. 

Things that go bump's picture

If you click on the speakers icon and then click mute you will never have to worry about that again, you know.

kiss of roses's picture

Google is going to ban advertising from CNN, MSNBC and alphabet networks? Gutsy move, but it will teach those purveyers of fake news a thing or two.

Yes We Can. But Lets Not.'s picture

" ZH will work on my cell again?"

No doubt.  ZH really effed up with those changes put out, what was it, around a year ago?  Haven't been able to use ZH on my cell phones since.

Also, lately, on all of my 3 laptops, troubles with the up/down arrows.  First click works, next one locks things up and forces me to click a box that opens up, and then next one resets page entirely and puts me back at top of page.  Puts a damper on using the up/down arrows.  Anyone else having this issue?  Yes, I use adblock plus.

emersonreturn's picture

don't have a cell, but, yes, my laptop has troubles with up/down arrow.  1st click works, next ceases.  yes i use adblock.

True Blue's picture

I only see that once in a blue moon; Firefox and NoScript. (For the sake of full honesty, NoScript can be a massive pain in the ass on some sites.)

Belrev's picture

So all MSM webistes will be blocked on google?

Arnold's picture

Webistas wanted on Craig's List.

Normalcy Bias's picture

I think the idea is "Fake News" = Google Disagrees with it

Don't Be Evil / Do The Right Thing ass!

Holy hand grenade of Antioch's picture
Holy hand grenade of Antioch (not verified) Normalcy Bias Nov 15, 2016 7:31 AM

So basically, if your page contains the word "Schmix million" or "Ashkenazi" on it, that'' qualify as FAKE NEWS you'll be blocked.

BennyBoy's picture


MSM fake news will not be blocked.

But no more google ads on their lying, cheating sites.

Google will be one gigantic ad blocker! WOOOHOOOO!