Since the political climate almost certainly isn’t going to calm down any time soon, if ever, we’re probably all going to keep seeing transparently fake news stories popping on our Facebook feeds for a while. Facebook itself hasn’t actually tried to do anything about this since early December, but it is reporting that Google has banned online publishers from using one of its ad networks, partly as a crackdown on fake news outlets. Before it, Google has also erased more than 900 Pirated URLs Due To Copyright Violation. And now these bans came in November and December, and it sounds like a lot of the sites that got the boot were known to “impersonate real news organizations through shortened top-level domains.”


That means a lot of sites that were using names like “NBC.com.co” or whatever to try and pretend readers into thinking they were legitimate have been cut off from Google ad revenue. On top of that, Google superficially removed 1.7 billion ads last year for disrespecting its policies, which is way up from 2015’s total of 780 million. Certainly, one of the leading architects of the fake news industry admitted back in November that he can just make a new site every time he gets shut down, so supposing that the people responsible for this deed don’t wake up and comprehend they’re profiting off of unrest and prejudice, Google’s crackdown might end up being more of a bandage than a real solution.

Google’s Crackdown

The war in contradiction of fake news and publishers has been in full swing by Facebook. Google has now also got combined with the bandwagon and in its first attempt, banned 200 publishers from using Google ads.


The ban was part of an update to an existing policy that prohibits sites that deceive users with their content. Much like Facebook, Google has been under increased scrutiny for its role in the spreading of false and misleading news since November, a period when the US elections subjugated headlines. The identical month, Google also altered some aspects of its AdSense policy which now forbids sites that:

“Misrepresent, misstate or conceal information about the publisher, the publisher’s content or the primary purpose.”

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Google punishes such websites by invalidating their use of ads for monetization purposes. On Wednesday, Google said that during the last 2 months it has reviewed over 550 sites since the new policy varies which has resulted in nearly 200 permanent, irremovable bans. Another 140 sites have been temporarily banned from using AdSense. In 2016, Google also saw the rise of tabloid cloakers. Tabloid cloakers are basically advertisements that impersonate a news site. For example, you will click on an ad showing anything of your interest such as celebrity news or etc. it instead proceeds you to other spam sites such as advertisements for those weight-loss products or any other type of spam. Fake news content was not the only thing that got banned, as around 47,000 spam sites along with another 6,000 fake advertisements were also banned from Google AdSense. The company also revealed that it took down 1.7 billion ads for various policy violations in 2016, as compared to 780 million in 2015. Google has increasingly been criticized for the way its algorithms highlight certain news sources as well.

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Ramsha Khan

Ramsha is a freelance writer, lives in Lahore, Pakistan.


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  1. Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve. (Bir insan her neyi hayal edip inanıyorsa, ona ulaşabilir.) – Napoleon Hill