Google announced on Monday that its advertising tools will soon be closed to websites that promote fake news, a policy that could cut off revenue streams for publications that peddle hoaxes.
The decision comes after the tech industry key players have come under fire for not taking necessary steps to prevent fake news from spreading across the web during the 2016 US election.
It’s thought that, given the viral aspects of fake news, social networks and search engines were gamed by people intending to influence the outcome of the race.
Fake news concerning the election became incredibly popular on social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, as well as news aggregating services, such as Google News and news articles in Google search results.
“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,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement given to Reuters. This policy includes fake news sites, the spokesperson confirmed.
Google already prevents its AdSense program from being used by sites that promote violent videos and imagery, pornography, and hate speech.
Also, Facebook updated its policy to rule out fake news sites from using Facebook Audience Network.
Google AdSense and Facebook Audience Network let content publishers display ads on their websites. Google and Facebook manage the ad inventories, content publishers get a cut for clicks or impressions.