According to a Google blog post the search engine giant has removed 200 publishers permanently from its AdSense network as part of an update to its policy on banning sites that intentionally mislead viewers.
Google has regularly weeded out advertisers for false or misleading claims, but as part of the crusade on ‘fake news’ they have updated their policy to ban publishers that impersonate news or propaganda sites.
In 2016, Google said that they took down 1.7 billion ads that violated their advertising policies, more than double the amount of bad ads they took down in 2015, according to Google’s blog.
Google attributes the increase in ad removals to a combination of advertiser behavior and improvements in technology to detect offending ads.
“Users don’t want to be misled by the content they engage with online,” Google’s policy on misleading ads states. “For this reason, Google ads may not be placed on pages that misrepresent, misstate, or conceal information about you, your content or the primary purpose of your web property.”
“We support industry efforts like the Coalition for Better Ads to protect people from bad experiences across the web.” The blog said, “While we took down more bad ads in 2016 than ever before, the battle doesn’t end here. As we invest in better detection, the scammers invest in more elaborate attempts to trick our systems. Continuing to find and fight them is essential to protecting people online and ensuring you get the very best from the open web.”
Critics say the entire notion of “Fake News” is serious a serious one that is nothing more than censorship. Many say that censorship is not the answer to the issue and that teaching people critical thinking would be much more beneficial.
Google declined to provide a listing of the banned sites.
The website Snapchat has also cracked down on fake news, issuing restrictions Monday to keep the site “informative, factual, and safe.”