After the increasing amount of flak it received, and the intense media scrutiny that it is subjected to, Facebook decided to make some concrete efforts in their war against fake news stories running amok on the platform.
Now Facebook is cutting off fake and unreliable news sites from availing the company’s advertising network to target users on Facebook, which will diminish their reach thereby reducing the probability of hoax and rumour based news going viral on their platform.
Facebook Audience Network, used to effectively target users on the social media platform, which will now be inaccessible to websites listed under the category of misleading and deceptive websites.
The Wall Street Journal contacted a Facebook spokesperson who said the following, “While implied, we have updated the policy to explicitly clarify that this applies to fake news,”
He also added, “We vigorously enforce our policies and take swift action against sites and apps that are found to be in violation. Our team will continue to closely vet all prospective publishers and monitor existing ones to ensure compliance.”
Facebook is increasingly becoming the preferred platform for internet users to read their news and stay in the know, hence the social network has been facing immense criticism for not doing enough to dispose off fake news articles.
Back when Facebook had decided to do away with their human curators, who were accused of being biased towards news articles that did not fit their political or moral beliefs, Facebook chose to employ an algorithm to take up the responsibilities of the curators.
The algorithm stuttered early on as it promoted a fake news article about Fox news anchor, Megyn Kelly losing her job, to the top of the Trending Topics section. Followed by a series of other errors, Facebook is becoming slightly more uncompromising towards entities that blemish its identity.
Following Google’s footsteps who is also taking steps to curb fake news stories that mislead users, this is the first serious attempt from Facebook and Google to eliminate the nuisance of fake news and clickbait headlines which are used to drive traffic and clicks.
The recently concluded United States’ Presidential Elections threw this topic into the headlines once again, as fake news websites published a story claiming the Pope’s support of controversial Republican candidate and now the Presidential elect, Donald Trump.
A welcome move from Google and Facebook, lets just all hope the move helps in the right direction.