Google to Prohibit Fake News Sites From Using Its Ad Software

Google Generic H 2016
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The search giant's move comes after a fake news article topped some search results on Sunday.

Google is cracking down on fake-news sites. 

The search giant plans to prohibit websites that publish false news from using its ad software, a product called Adsense that allows publishers to place Google ads on their websites. 

Google's move, which will cut off a key revenue stream for these sites, comes as fake news has proliferated online, especially on Facebook, throughout the election. Google, too, has dealt with the rise of fake news. Several outlets have reported that on Sunday an inaccurate news story claiming that Donald Trump would win both the popular vote and the electoral college was the top result for some election-related searches. 

On Monday, Google responded swiftly. The Wall Street Journal, which first reported on the move, says the changes are imminent and are in line with Google's existing policies. 

A Google spokesperson sent the following statement to The Hollywood Reporter: "We've been working on an update to our publisher policies and will start prohibiting Google ads from being placed on misrepresentative content, just as we disallow misrepresentation in our ads policies. 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."

Facebook in particular saw the proliferation of fake news during the election, prompting some critics to question the role the social network played in helping Trump become elected. Last week, CEO Mark Zuckerberg called that notion "a pretty crazy idea." He then took to Facebook on Saturday to clarify his position, writing that "more than 99% of what people see is authentic. Only a very small amount is fake news and hoaxes." 

BuzzFeed reported on Monday that some employees at the social network would like to see Facebook clamp down on fake-news posts. Quoting unnamed sources, the online outlet reported that a group of employees have formed a renegade task force whose goal is to offer recommendations to Facebook's senior management about how to handle fake news.