In a time when people need the truth more than ever, Google took steps to eliminate fake news sites by removing 200 publishers from its AdSense networks during the fourth quarter alone. After hearing concerns and criticisms from users and even across the pond from the BBC concerning fake news about the presidential election, Hillary Clinton, and Donald Trump, Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai admitted Google did not handle the news properly. He also believes that Google and other large Internet companies need to ensure that the news going out on their sites needs to be as accurate as possible. Facebook and Twitter agreed to join forces with Google to fight against fake news, raise the standard of journalism, and efficiently distribute that news promptly.
Google is always concerned about ridding its sites of fake news but have stepped up concerns after realizing the increase in false news or sites that preach their propaganda. It is one thing for news agencies to throw out their opinions as long as it is clearly stated as such. But what is happening now is that these types of articles, designed to persuade readers, are being published as real news. From the website name to the title to the content to the conclusion, these opinion pieces of ‘news’ look like a real article of facts, when in fact, they are designed to play on the emotions of the readers.
Google declined to publish a listing of the fake sites but did provide some numbers of violators. While only banning or removing 780 million ads in 2015, Google took down 1.7 billion ads in 2016. There are many reasons for the massive increase in numbers – it seems that advertising behavior is getting out of hand and owners of the sites have discovered how easy it is to manipulate readers towards their line of thinking, especially if someone is paying them good money to post the articles. There are still many good news agencies out there reporting the truth, but it is getting harder to weed them out from all of the fake news sites. Another reason Google can shut down so many sites is the improvements in technology that locate the sites and recognize the offending stories. Google no longer accepts payday loan sites and took down about 5 million of them during the last half of 2016. Another top priority is the “tabloid cloaker” stories where there is a link to find out more information but in reality it the link takes you to an ad.