Amid severe criticism for promoting fake news and a critical time for the tech world, Google has announced that websites which promote fake news will soon be unable to access advertising tools by Google. This move by Google can result in the cutting down of revenue for websites which peddle hoaxes on online media. Many key players in the tech world have recently come under fire, during the US elections, and have been accused of proliferating fake news. Since the fake news has a ‘viral’ nature, it has been said that the social media and search engines have influenced the result of the election. In a statement to Reuters, Google said, “Moving forward, we will 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.” Google already has an algorithm in its AdSense program which prevents websites from promoting violent pictures, videos, pornography, and hate speech.
Meanwhile, Facebook has reportedly formed a ‘secret’ task force to take on the role of the social media platform in influencing the US elections and Donal Trump’s victory. Buzzfeed reported that the task force consists of employees across Facebook and that they have refused to accept the remarks made by CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, had earlier denied allegations that fake news spread on the platform influenced the outcome of the US election and termed the idea ‘crazy’. He said, “The idea that fake news on Facebook, which is a very small amount of the content, influenced the election in any way I think is a pretty crazy idea.”
However, the employees in the ‘task force’ told Buzzfeed, “It’s not a crazy idea” that fake news on Facebook had affected the elections. “What’s crazy is for [Zuckerberg] to come out and dismiss it like that, when he knows, and those of us at the company know, that fake news ran wild on our platform during the entire campaign season,” an anonymous employee was quoted as saying. According to the report, there are ‘dozens’ of employees in the secret task force, and they believe that there are much more in the company who are dissatisfied with Facebook’s stance on fake news. As it is, it seems while Google is taking an active role in battling the issue, it is clear that Facebook employees have taken it in the hands to address this, even if their CEO is uninterested.