It just got harder for fake-news websites to make money from ads. Within hours of each other on Monday evening, Facebook and Google both announced that sites that intentionally deceive or mislead visitors won’t be allowed to use the internet giants’ advertising platforms.
Google’s AdSense and the Facebook Audience Network allow websites to easily place digital ads on their pages. Instead of going out and selling ads on their own, websites can lean on Google and Facebook to do that legwork for them. The networks act as middlemen, allowing online advertisers to “bid” for space on websites that have signed up. Google and Facebook share some of the revenue from the ads with the websites that run them.
Google said Monday that it will no longer allow websites access to its ad network if they “misrepresent, misstate, or conceal information about the publisher, the publisher’s content, or the primary purpose.” Pornography or hate-speech websites are already banned from using the AdSense platform.
Facebook, too, tweaked its policies for its Facebook Audience Network, although the company insisted the change was just a clarification. The company’s policy already banned apps and sites with “illegal, misleading, or deceptive” content, a spokesperson said. On Monday, the company updated the document to “explicitly clarify that this applies to fake news.” The spokesperson would not say whether any publishers would be removed from the platform because of the change.