While Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg still strongly believes the idea that fake news shared on the world’s most popular social network influenced the surprising result of the recent US presidential election is outright “crazy”, both he and Google’s powers that be are cracking down on misleading publishers.
Better late than never, although Hillary Clinton supporters may be left forever wondering if perhaps many of those undecided voters who ultimately picked Donald Trump were manipulated in their last-minute choice by hoax political stories going viral just when the President-elect needed them the most.
Of course, it remains virtually impossible to altogether ban bogus reports from the web, but at least Google parent company Alphabet and Facebook now target the explicit discouraging of their creation and distribution.
No more integrating or displaying ads in “apps or sites containing content that is illegal, misleading or deceptive, including fake news” as far as Facebook’s monetization policies are concerned. Meanwhile, Google vows to “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.”
In a nutshell, it’s going to be increasingly difficult for fake news “reporters” to get their B.S. in front of a big enough e-audience to impact momentous occasions ever again, and especially to make money off people’s gullibility. But rest assured, they’ll find workarounds. That’s just how the internet works these days. All you can really do is double, triple, quadruple-check your online facts.