Facebook has recently announced they’ll be taking more action to fight the spread of inaccurate or fabricated news stories through social media. As of now, the social media giant will prevent operators of pages sharing fake news items from accessing its advertising platform. This isn’t the first time Facebook took measures to reduce the amount of misleading information or hoaxes being spread through its service.
In response to an influx of false news stories being shared on Facebook during the 2016 presidential elections in the US, the social networking service has disallowed running ads linking to news stories that have been marked as false by external fact-checking groups.
The new measures were announced by Facebook in a blog post. Pages on the social network that “repeatedly” share news stories determined false by third-party fact-checking teams won’t be able to advertise on the Facebook Ads platform. The post didn’t go into more details on how many fake news items a page must share before they’re banned from buying ads. According to a Facebook spokesperson, these details aren’t being shared, as doing so would make it easier for rogue page operators to game the system by intentionally limiting their fake news sharing to numbers that won’t trigger an advertising ban.
The ban from Facebook’s advertising platform won’t be permanent. In their blog post, the company stated that if pages stop sharing bogus news links, they “may be eligible” to purchase ads again.
While the advertising ban may not completely eliminate the sharing of fake news stories on social media, many industry experts believe it’s a step in the right direction. Pages pushing false news stories and hoaxes have often used the Facebook Ads platform to boost traffic to their pages and get fans much faster than they would have by using organic methods.
Facebook says that they’re currently working on developing new products that will reduce the spread of misleading news content and reduce the economic incentives of creating or distributing fake news in the first place. Many of the pages spreading fake news make money by running third-party ads. By making it harder for these pages to get a significant amount of traffic, social networking sites can reduce the advertising revenues of rogue news site, making them less profitable for their operators.