Thursday, November 17, 2016

Google and FB Crack Down On Fake News

Google and Facebook
After election pollsters failed to get an accurate forecasts on the outcome of the contest, somebody is expected to pay. And the day of reckoning has just arrived after Google and Facebook will try to cut off advertising revenue to fake news sites.

The move by the two tech giants aims to choke off funds to an industry fueled by bogus, often sensational "news" circulating online and seen as a potential influence on public opinion. This was mainly the strategy employed by the liberals when they tried to downplay the capacity of President elect Donald Trump as they try to boost the stock of Hillary Clinton.

A Google statement to AFP said new policies "will start prohibiting Google ads from being placed on misrepresentative content, just as we disallow misrepresentation in our ads policies."

The shift will mean Google restricts ads "on pages that misrepresent, misstate, or conceal information about the publisher, the publisher's content, or the primary purpose of the web property," the statement said.

Google chief executive Sundar Pichai said the company receives billions of queries daily and admitted errors had been made.

"There have been a couple of incidences where it has been pointed out and we didn't get it right.

"And so it is a learning moment for us and we will definitely work to fix it," he said in a BBC interview.

Pichai said there should be "no situation where fake news gets distributed" and committed to making improvements.

"I don't think we should debate it as much as work hard to make sure we drive news to its more trusted sources, have more fact checking and make our algorithms work better, absolutely," he said.

Last 14 November, internet users searching on Google were delivered a bogus report saying Republican Donald Trump had won the popular vote in addition to the electoral college.

The numbers on a blog called 70News - contradicting official results tallied so far by states - said Trump received 62.9 million votes to 62.2 million for Hillary Clinton.

The blog urged those petitioning for the electoral college to switch their votes to reflect popular will to scrap their effort.

Facebook is implementing a similar policy, a spokesman said.

"In accordance with the Audience Network Policy, we do not integrate or display ads in apps or sites containing content that is illegal, misleading or deceptive, which includes fake news," a Facebook statement said.

"While implied, we have updated the policy to explicitly clarify that this applies to fake news."

One report said Facebook had developed a tool to weed out fake news but did not deploy it before the US election, fearing a backlash from conservatives after a controversy over its handling of "trending topics." Facebook denied the report.

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