Facebook has announced that it’s going even further in battling the problem of fake news on its social networks and apps. Pages that regularly spread fake news on Facebook will be barred from purchasing ad space, the company announced on Monday.
Stop spreading fake news on Facebook
Facebook said in a press release that Pages which repeatedly share articles that third-party fact-checkers mark as being false will no longer be able to advertise on its platforms. The company called these Pages “repeat offenders” and said it wants to keep them from being able to make money while spreading fake news. It hopes that by doing this, it will cut down the distribution of false news because if they can’t make money doing it, then they will probably stop doing it.
The company said it found some Pages that were growing their audiences by taking out ads on Facebook to get more followers. As more and more users clicked on their ads and chose to like their Pages, they were able to distribute their fake news on Facebook more and more widely. Facebook added that when such Pages stop sharing fake news, they could become eligible to start buying ads again. The company didn’t say how many times a Page will have to share false stories before it will be barred from buying ads.
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The company has been working with a number of third-party fact-checkers in identifying false news stories, such as the Associated Press and Snopes. These checkers are targeting stories that are hoaxes or are based on flat out lies rather than stories that are opinion-based.
Facebook’s other efforts to stop the spread of fake news
This latest effort announced on Monday follows the social media firm’s other recent steps aimed at stopping fake news in its tracks. Facebook had already stopped letting advertisers run ads linking to stories that third-party fact-checking organizations had marked as false, so today’s announcement is essentially an expansion of that step. This new step strengthens that effort by taking it beyond ads which contain links that have been marked false and including Pages that spread fake news on Facebook on a regular basis.
The company explained that its efforts to battle fake news fall into three main areas. One is curbing the “economic incentives” to spread fake news on Facebook, such as by keeping those who spread false news from buying ad space. The social media firm also plans to build new products aimed at reducing the distribution of fake news and to help its users “make more informed decisions” whenever they run across news stories that are false.