back to article Google and Facebook pledge to stop their ads reaching fake news websites

Google and Facebook have both announced they'll try to stop their ads making it onto fake news sites. Fake news has become a post-US-election flashpoint, with numerous commentators opining that deliberately lurid election-related stories created solely to attract eyeballs and ads* may have unwittingly been given vote-swaying …


  1. Planty Bronze badge

    Bit late now

    We have trump and Brexit because idiots on Facebook can't spot bullshit.

    Humanity needed this 6 months ago.

    1. AMBxx Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: Bit late now

      Still stuck in your bubble?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bit late now

      Idiots + Facebook = Ca va de soit

    3. AndyS

      Re: Bit late now

      Sadly, this won't help - the Daily Mail and similar shit-filled gutter-dwelling hate rags will still count as "News" and be allowed through.

      1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

        Re: Bit late now

        Some thought that social media would mean an improvement in the freedom of ideas without 'traditional media' and its agenda of money and politics.

        Sadly what we see is "Idiocracy" turning out to be a documentary on how we as a population can de-educate and vote ourself in to oblivion.

      2. jaywin

        Re: Bit late now

        > Sadly, this won't help - the Daily Mail and similar shit-filled gutter-dwelling hate rags will still count as "News" and be allowed through.

        Look at the difference between the printed Daily Mail and Mail Online - the latter will happily publish complete nonsense, safe in the knowledge that they can just delete it a few hours later after they've raked in the views and the truth decides to make an appearance. The printed edition on the other hand has to tread a safer line, as it's harder to deny you wrote something when there's printed copies strew around the place.

        Hence each year they can write a piece about "Winterval" on the website full of the lies and blustering that their readers want to see, and just remove it when the complaints come in. Do that in the paper and they'll have to tuck an apology in somewhere when Birmingham City Council points out the lies (again). The readers don't care, and the deletion just adds to their suspicions that the only reason we don't hear more about these stories is because of some lefty cover-up.

    4. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: Bit late now

      We had this 6 months ago - Facebook had human editors who curated the News but then conservatives claimed that the human editors were picking on them by rejecting conservative news and favoring news with a democratic theme. So Facebook eliminated the human editors and went with an algorithm instead - turns out the Facebook programmers aren't that good and soon the world was greeted with the news that the Pope had endorsed Trump.

      We, the tech world, have created this mess - "News" is now primarily interested in selling your eyeballs to the advertisers, "Truth?" they've heard of it but it's not a factor - getting new eyeballs is far more important than truth.

      And now we are going to have a president who repeats whatever drivel he reads on the Internet as gospel. We got the president we deserve - God help the world.

    5. Doctor_Wibble

      Re: Bit late now

      > Humanity needed this 6 months ago.

      Yes, six months ago was the time to 'out' all the lies etc, doing it after the vote is just tedious.

      Sorry to go against the flow here (the public were offered a crappy choice, for both UK referendum and US election) but all the 'campaigning for truth' should have been done *before* the vote, instead of the focus on being superior and looking down on the uneducated plebs who back then might have been persuaded if people hadn't been so busy calling them uneducated plebs.

      Fight lies with the truth, not insults. Trump did not win, Clinton lost. Leave did not win, Remain lost. Nobody can claim victory in either of these. If you want to call people thick, do that *after* you have won and don't ever assume your self-righteousness will prevail.

      I don't care which way people voted but there's some serious attitude problems that need to be re-thought.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Bit late now

        "Fight lies with the truth, not insults"

        It gets harder to do that in a post-truth era.

        1. Doctor_Wibble

          Re: Bit late now

          > post-truth era

          Lovely and soundbitey but blaming the lies is still the same failure to acknowledge the mistakes and lets the lies drive the agenda all over again. This is exactly why these votes were lost by the losers, not won by the winners.

          The votes are done, and we don't need to re-live all the divisive crap all over again.

          1. Martin an gof Silver badge

            Re: Bit late now

            these votes were lost by the losers, not won by the winners.

            I understand your point, but what you haven't noted is that some (maybe not all) of the "lies" that you talk about absolutely were debunked by people telling the truth. The classic lie in the referendum debate was, of course, the "£350M extra per week for the NHS" lie. This was debunked time and time again and yet it was still emblazoned on the side of the bus and none of the Vote Leave people would admit it was a lie.

            So people who didn't have access to any arbiter other than "he says yes, she says no" (which is what most of the reporting on non-partisan media outlets boiled down to) had no choice than to side with the person they liked better, or who was endorsed by the partisan media outlet they favoured.

            There were people debunking the myths and lies spouted by both sides of the campaign; Radio 4's More or Less did a good job in the months running up to the vote, and the BBC News Website's Reality Check section did stirling work too (as did others), but many people chose to ignore these voices and vote with their hearts not their heads.

            Assuming I'm not being too generous in that last statement, on an issue such as this, heart over head isn't necessarily a bad thing, so long as you understand the implications. Since before the vote, the implications weren't all terribly clear...


            1. Doctor_Wibble

              Re: Bit late now

              > I understand your point

              Only partly - the 350m is a perfect example of Leave controlling the agenda - all the debunking in the world is not going to make any difference to people who don't think the specific accuracy of the figure actually matters because 250m and 350m are both big numbers.

              When people are making independence type remarks, the balance sheet isn't something that gets the priority and the principle of the expense is just a hook to hang things on and the 'chose to ignore' remark just goes with a whole load of others that missed what Leave were about and carries the 'wilful ignorance' poke.

              We are where we are because people argued against what Leave were saying without understanding why they were saying it. I don't have any special insight into the Leave mindset but people just can't bring themselves to see that the Remain campaign missed what looks like the whole point of it.

              1. Martin an gof Silver badge

                Re: Bit late now

                When people are making independence type remarks, the balance sheet isn't something that gets the priority... ...people argued against what Leave were saying without understanding why they were saying it

                Now you've changed the accusation. First you argued that "lies" on one side were not debunked by "truths" on the other, now you are arguing that it was a nebulous touchy-feely thing. What was it? Lies or opinions?

                Lies can be debunked.

                Opinions can't.


                1. Doctor_Wibble

                  Re: Bit late now

                  > Now you've changed the accusation.

                  There's no need to be re-casting my remarks as 'accusations'.

                  There are factual AND political aspects to the Remain/Leave argument and the failure to comprehend the difficult concept that both should be considered is how we ended up with a Leave result.

                  Seriously WTF are you having a go at me for? The Remain campaign lost because it was completely shit, and the result kind of proves that point.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Bit late now

                    ITT the reason the centre shall continue to lose votes as more and more normal people just can't be bothered.

                    It's the Democrats fault they lost the election - that's it. They selected a shit candidate and people didn't want to vote for them. A corrupt (either incompetent or lying depending on which email story you believe) career politician with almost complete backing from "official" and left/liberal news sources from games media to the reg. You were a farce. To coin "Goose stepping looks good when it's done in lock step"

                    Not many people more voted for Trump then for whoever it was last time, the difference is the bland more of the same media loved royal family of Clinton just wasn't liked enough by normal people for them to go out and vote for either candidate. They may not of liked Trump but saw his protectionist isolationist interventionalist stance no worse than the Clinton's political legacy, interventionalism (wanting to go to war with Russia over a patch of sand), free market globalisation and liberal conversion.

                    Faced between the two more former voters who had voted Obama just didn't bother because the Democrats and their loyal army of both media supporters, wall street supporters and the crazy social justice sorts didn't manage to make them think "jee maybe we should vote for them".

                    Stop trying to find someone else to blame, the culprits are clean to see and it's the children lashing around trying to find someone else to blame.

                    We did it, our fault, stop calling people stupid for not goose stepping behind you for fucks sake.

                    And christ did anyone even know what Clinton stood for during the election? I mean other than being a "liberal" (If making Theresa May look like a liberal is what being a liberal is now) and a woman?

            2. jaywin

              Re: Bit late now

              > There were people debunking the myths and lies spouted by both sides of the campaign; Radio 4's More or Less did a good job in the months running up to the vote, and the BBC News Website's Reality Check section did stirling work too (as did others), but many people chose to ignore these voices and vote with their hearts not their heads.

              Yeah, but the BBC's funded by the EU so they're obviously going to make everything Leave said look like it's lies. And they're full of lefties. And do-gooders. And, worst of all, they acknowledge, eugh, experts.

              Better to stick to Youtube. Everything on there is 110% accurate. Especially the home made stuff which the mainstream media refuses to show.

          2. Naselus

            Re: Bit late now

            " post-factual era"

            - Phrase literally only used by journalists and commentators, who don't appear to recognize their institutional role in a democracy is to prevent a post-factual era happening.

    6. fruitoftheloon

      @Planty: Re: Bit late now


      right so FB is the reason why moi and quite a few others voted differently to you, your evidence for this earth shaking statment would be???

      Do us all a favour and stop whining, has it ever occured to you that some folk may have an opinion that differs from yours????



      1. brainbone

        Re: an opinion that differs from yours

        "Do us all a favour and stop whining, has it ever occured to you that some folk may have an opinion that differs from yours????"

        I think the point is that many of those opinions were based on inaccurate information.

        1. fruitoftheloon

          @brainbone: Re: an opinion that differs from yours


          could be, I find it hilarious the efforts some folk will go to to find something/anything that justifies the supposed actions of folk that they disagree with....

          Thanks for your input.



    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bit late now

      I voted for Brexit, I would vote for Trump if he came over here, and I don't even use Social Media, so your argument is invalid...

    8. Mi Tasol

      Re: Bit late now

      More like 8 years ago when the inventor of fake news started peddling

      - his crap about Obama was not a US citizen and

      - was putting up phoney Time Magazine covers in his hotels, restaraunts and golf courses with his ugly smug mug on the covers.

      - was mismanaging companies into bankruptcy and blaming everyone but himself (and pocketing millions from the bankruptcy)




  2. ratfox Silver badge

    Do people want to be lied to?

    Sometimes I wonder. People are known to be irrational.

    1. DJO Silver badge

      Re: Do people want to be lied to?

      It's called confirmation bias, people will believe any crap if it aligns with what they already believe.

    2. Blank Reg

      Re: Do people want to be lied to?

      Yes they do, they don't want to think, they just want someone to say they will fix everything.

      But now that Trump has already backtracked or downgraded many of his lies, I mean electrion promises, what will those people do?

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: Do people want to be lied to?

        Yes, it is a bit of a problem that Trump is changing his tune on so many things before he's even taken office. At least with Obama it took a while before it became obvious that his election promises of ending the wars, stopping the warrantless wiretapping and so forth were just that.

        The best promise he made, to "drain the swamp" by eliminating lobbyists, is already broken as he's bringing them in by the dozens to "advise" him on appointments. They'll advise him "you need to bring in someone with industry experience" and recommend a fellow lobbyist - or themselves. That, and the promise to introduce a constitutional amendment for term limits in congress will go nowhere because it has already been shown that republicans only campaign on such things when they are out of power. The minute they get power, they claim term limits are somehow no longer necessary!

        1. Naselus

          Re: Do people want to be lied to?

          "That, and the promise to introduce a constitutional amendment for term limits in congress will go nowhere"

          Also because everyone who's ever done any research on the topic has concluded that term-limits in Congress are a really stupid idea. Most politicians arrive in Congress with very limited experience on how to write legislation, or how a bill becomes a law, and it takes years for them to learn how to chair a legislative committee effectively - plus, keeping them returning to the voters over and over again helps with accountability. It also helps fill higher offices if a politician can point to a long legislative career, and that enables both voters and externals to have a reasonable idea of how they'll behave in government (something that Trump's current cabinet picks are causing problems with).

          Despite the obvious advantages of reducing complacency, forcing congressmen and senators to give up after a few terms is likely to cause a lot more harm than good.

  3. Teiwaz Silver badge

    Should be happy

    Isn't this what we wanted?

    Discernment of fact from fiction from a company that can't tell the difference between pornography and an image of social value.

  4. Dwarf Silver badge

    Unofficial marketing department re-blanding

    Just call them Fakebook then ?

  5. Roger B

    Moneytary reasons

    As good as this statement makes them sound, after Facebook had said news articles on their site had little sway over their users decisions, advertisers were most likely questioning the purpose of advertising there if articles don't inform users, why would adverts?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Zuckerberg also said Facebook “must be extremely cautious about becoming arbiters of truth ourselves.”

    Sorry but I don't believe him, I think it was the plan from the start when they first started putting news in peoples feed and I said the same thing about their third world free internet plan. Whoever controls the information can form opinions in the mind of the user by restricting or allowing certain stories.

    I just hope that the users of his platform take enough time away from sharing pictures of food,cats,kids and craving the attention of others to realise this is what is happening.

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      This is the liberal theory (heartily endorsed by the right wing) that everyone must get equal time and a chance to present their position to the world, regardless of the stupidity or danger presented by the choice.

      Candidate #1: "I believe that we must offer refuge to these refugees as they flee persecution"

      Candidate #2: "Let's skin them, turn them into lampshades and sell them on e-bay"

      Moderator: "Thank you, now moving on to the next question, what's your position on Poland?"

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Everyone should get chance to voice their opinion however it's up to the media and news to give unbiased views of those opinions so we the people can form our own opinions based on fact. In reality that doesn't happen and most news outlets have an agenda of their own.

        One of the reasons I believe Trump won was due to the media being so far biased for Clinton which everyone could clearly see that when Trump said the media were out to get him a lot of people believed him. It was a no win situation, keep publishing negative stories and you feed the Trump campaign, publish positive stories and you feed Trump campaign. Maybe that's why the FBI reopened the email case, to try and change the opinion of the media by the public.

        Facebook needs to be careful, people don't like being manipulated and when they find out which I hope they do it's good bye Facebook (at least I can hope)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Every one forgetting that not long ago Facebook was caught intentionally infecting people news feeds with left leading liberal silicon valley stuff?

      Oh how short memories are.

  7. Ole Juul Silver badge

    no cure

    may have unwittingly been given vote-swaying weight by some readers.

    So the real problem is witless readers.

    1. Blank Reg

      Re: no cure

      Or witless voters. The problem with democracy is that everyone can vote, no matter how uninformed or stupid they may be.

      You should have to write a test before being allowed to vote, if you are too clueless about the issues, or believe some truly crazy crap that is verifiably false, then no vote for you.

      While we're at it, candidates should have to write an even more in-depth version of the test. When even the Pope believes in evolution you know these people are way out there with their 10,000 year old earth ideas.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: no cure

        fucking hell, listen to yourselves, and you're shocked people don't want to vote with you.


        1. Blank Reg

          Re: no cure

          I know it sounds elitist, but it's only logical. If your opinion is going to be taken seriously then you should have at least a basic understanding of the issue at hand. I don't ask my mechanic about that funny looking mole on my arm and I don't ask my dentist to take a look at my furnace.

          If people can't be bothered to inform themselves on the candidates and issues then how does their opinion have any value?

        2. TeeCee Gold badge

          Re: no cure

          I blame the EU. They invented this nuDemocracy where you hold a vote and go with the majority view, unless you disagree with it in which case you hold another vote until the proles vote the "right" way.

          It's a short step from there to having the twatocracy out on the streets protesting the result of an election....

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: no cure

            Well what if they didn't want to set up a no fly zone over Syria leading to a risky confrontation with Russia?

            Or they believed gay marriage should be decided at a state level?

            Or they believed that they should raise tarifs on China would help American business?

            Or that they shouldn't maintain the pretence of protecting NATO "Allies" that didn't maintain the 2% required spending?

            Or that there's something odd about the whole cigar in vagina in the oval office lying things?

            Or there was something odd about the fact all the media marched to a merry tune?

            Or that the Democrats were so incompetent and corrupt that they couldn't convince people to go out and vote?

            Or they ran a business where they couldn't afford to provide medical insurance anymore because the premiums had trebbled?

            Or people that god forbid work in the coal industry and didn't want to be unemployed?

            Maybe they really wanted to get rid of illegal immigrants?

            For various kinds of people there were plenty of reasons not to vote Clinton and even a few reasons to vote Trump.

            On that - it's weird - I mean most countries are pretty big on not having many illegal immigrants - how's it even possible to accrue that many? I mean in the UK you can't even rent a place unless you can present 9 million items of ID proving you're allowed to live there.

  8. Khaptain Silver badge

    Hasn't politics and religion always relied on this condition, whereas most people will not take the time, nor have the desire to educate themselves.

  9. Your alien overlord - fear me

    "or the primary purpose of the web property." - so Google will stop showing adverts on search pages because their primary purpose is showing adverts, not search results?

    1. Khaptain Silver badge

      Google's entire fortune is based solely in the objective that they can display advertisements. Essentially those very expensive "adwords" are just pure advertising.

  10. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Well if you can do that . . .

    "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."

    I'm waiting for the next announcement in this vein :

    "We will now implement restrictions on ad serving by ads that misrepresent, mistate or conceal information about the developer's intent to subvert and/or take control of a hapless viewer's computer."

    Not holding my breath though.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fake News Sites...

    Does that mean they'll stop serving ads to Yahoo! now?

  12. Randy Hudson

    Correction, the election was decided by less than 0% of the votes. The winner received roughly NEGATIVE 1 percent more votes.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fake news sites

    So where does one draw the line between "fake" news and satire? There are obvious extremes, such as the National Inquirer vs The Onion, but what about the gray areas? And how are computers expected to divine which side of the line a given site falls on?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fake news sites

      Huffington post? Editorials done up to look like news? Opinion pieces? What does "fake news" even mean? Apart from new thing to blame being a failure on. Anything that doesn't support the 4th wave?

  14. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    FB = fake balls?

  15. Velv Silver badge

    Why worry about Facebook and Google being used to disseminate false information as fact, religions have been doing it for over 2,000 years, (although competing factions may be more recent)


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