Facebook and Google Begin to Police Fake News

Both Facebook and Google will crack down on fake news with changes to the policies on both sites as well as code that will flag offending content.

The 2016 U.S. Presidential election cycle won’t be soon forgotten. It shattered old conventions and introduced a completely new way of running a campaign, including fake news. No doubt some of that content was generated for political purposes. But, for better worse, some fake news was created simply for profit.

For social media giants Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL), this new trend represents a challenge that can greatly affect the monetization of their platforms. If the billions of consumers and businesses that use these two brands can’t rely on the information they are accessing, advertisers may drop support for these channels. On the other hand, could small content creators face backlash whether their content is truly fake news or simply viewed that way by these digital behemoths?

Facebook and Google Will Crack Down on Fake News

Facebook has just announced a new initiative to identify authentic content because, as the company puts it, stories that are authentic resonate more with its community.

During the election, the social media giant was criticized for doing very little to combat fake news. Instead, Facebook tried to outsource the task of identifying this content to third parties including five fact checking organizations: the Associated Press, ABC news, Factcheck.org, Snopes and PolitiFact.

However, the new update ranks authentic content by incorporating new signals to better identify what is true or false. These signals are delivered in real-time when a post is relevant to a particular user. The signals are determined by analyzing overall engagement on pages to identify spam as well as posts that specifically ask for likes, comments or shares — since these might indicate an effort to spread questionable content.

As for Google, the tech company released its 2017 Bad Ads report. Google says the report plays an important role in making sure users have access to accurate and quality information online. Still, the report addresses only ads thus far. Google warns more broadly that the sustainability of the web could be threatened if users cannot rely on the information they find there.

Fake News Photo via Shutterstock 6 Comments ▼

Michael Guta Michael Guta is the Assistant Editor at Small Business Trends and currently manages its East African editorial team. Michael brings with him many years of content experience in the digital ecosystem covering a wide range of industries. He holds a B.S. in Information Communication Technology, with an emphasis in Technology Management.

6 Reactions
  1. This is good. There has been so many fake news circulating around that it is hard to know which to believe.

  2. I saw this certain news about the bombing of a particular commercial establishment. This has been passed through direct messaging until there was a message from the police that none of it was true.

  3. I can see what they like to do but I am wondering how are they going to implement this. Are they going to set up a filtering something where you can report if the news is fake?

  4. Why in the world should we trust them? Don’t follow blindly!

  5. Thank you,Michael
    I hope this will work at some point, but let’s see when it will actually happen.The so called cloakers often take advantage of timely topics—a government election, a trending news story or a popular celebrity—and their ads can look like headlines on a news website.For instance few days ago I read that Microsoft is buying Customerso,but of course for news like this you just don’t believe and use a common sense.

  6. Hi Havier,
    You are welcome.
    I also hope it works at some point, but as your case points out it is going to be an uphill battle. More than anything though, the cost will be too high because it will be labor intensive. I don’t know how much Google, Facebook and others are willing to spend on this.