Despite Mark Zuckerberg’s dismissive attitude regarding the claim that Facebook had an inappropriate impact on the US elections, the company has moved to bar sources of fake news from its Facebook Audience Network ads.
Fake news sites were added to the “misleading, illegal and deceptive sites” category and, according to a Facebook spokesman, they will continue to vet all prospective publishers and monitor existing ones to ensure compliance.
The announcement comes closely after that of Google, which announced on Monday that its AdSense advertising network will be, from now on, off limits to sites that publish deceptive and misleading content.
Unfortunately, the changes don’t prevent fake stories to be shared by Facebook users on their news feeds, nor do they prevent fake news popping up in Google search results, but could make a dent in the revenue streams of operations such as the one recently spotted in Macedonia, which runs more than 100 pro-Trump websites that spread fake news.
But while Zuckerberg is still reluctant to make more changes that would prevent the viral spread of such news on the social media platform, some Facebook employees have apparently created an “unofficial task force” to inspect the Facebook’s role in the rise of fake and misleading news.
According to BuzzFeed‘s sources, the members of the group come from various departments of the company and are, for now, meeting in secret and working on a list of recommendations to present to Facebook’s senior management.
Also, according to Gizmodo, Facebook had a News Feed update that would identify fake news stories ready, but it was never implemented, as it would impact mostly right-wing news sites and they feared a backlash. Facebook has denied this.
For now, it still relies on users to report fake news stories.
A relatively recent Pew Research Center study showed that about 6 in 10 Americans get their news from social media, and that 44% of adult Americans who use Facebook rely on it as a source of news.