Fake News Sites Banned from Facebook Ads

John Lister's picture

Facebook is to ban ads from sites that habitually share bogus 'news' stories. The ban will apply even if the ads themselves don't point to the false stories.

It's no secret that Facebook is one of the biggest sources of traffic for news sites, both legitimate outlets and those which deliberately run tantalizing but misleading, or outright false stories. The latter sites thrive on people sharing the bogus stories on social media sites, thus bringing more visitor and bumping up ad revenue.

However, some sites also buy Facebook advertising as a way to attract visitors who will then share the stories to expand the audience. While Facebook profits from such ads, it loses credibility with users and also diminishes the effectiveness of ads from legitimate sites, potentially hitting revenues.

Ban Targets Sites, Not Individual Ads

At the moment Facebook rules say it will ban any ads that lead to a page carrying a story that's designated as false by third-party fact checkers. That's designed to reduce the financial incentive to create such stories, which Facebook says is one of three ways it's fighting false news. The others bring to improve technology for finding and halting the spread of fake stories, and better educating users on how to spot false news and avoid sharing it. (Source: fb.com)

Under the new rules, the ban will apply to all ads for an entire site, rather than just specific ads. The ban will kick in if the site's Facebook page repeatedly shares false stories, whether or not that's through paid advertising. Once banned, a site won't be eligible to place ads again until Facebook has determined it has stopped sharing the false news.

Length of Ban Not Revealed

Facebook hasn't issued any details on how many sites will initially be hit by the ban, or how long they'll have to be 'clean' before they can start buying ads again. It says such information could make it easier for the fake news sites to figure out how to game the system. (Source: businessinsider.com)

What's Your Opinion?

Is Facebook right to take this extra step? Is there a risk that 'legitimate' news sites could be hit depending on the definition and interpretation of 'false news'? Can the problem of bogus stories ever be solved or is it just an inevitable result of human nature?

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Dennis Faas's picture

I wish Facebook would do the same thing for click bait advertisements. I saw one ad that had what appeared to be weaponized rims on a car with the subject line along the lines of "Everyone needs this..." or such. Out of pure click bait curiosity, I clicked it only to see that it was a 30 minute advertisement (video) about a wireless ODB car code engine reader.

The ironic thing is that there were about 400+ people actively commenting on "What a great idea" this was, yet few people complaining they were duped into viewing the advertisement in the first place. The problem is that most of the ads on Facebook use this tactic to falsely advertise their products. This is what really bothers me.

ecash's picture

Mis-advert..Click bait..
For those that dont understand..
In the OLD mail/SPAM..if there is aenough info out there, THEY can Identify you.
Every time you CLICK something, info is sent, and THEY CAN GET ALLOT.
A group can run Bunches of ???? click bait, and each bit, tells them something.

GOOGLE does the same. Sign up for Amazon, Newegg, many other places, and Adverts Come up that SHOW THOSE sales for items YOU SEARCH..
Block it..(yes you can) and see what happens? Some sites just DONT WORK.

On facebook, try a trick..refresh the page and Locate the spot you were on..ITS GONE.

I do not Mind adverts:
Only from the 1st site that I am on..NO 3rd party.(deals have been made to BYPASS your adblocker)

TRUE ADVERTS..That Tell me what they are and what they want..OTHER WISE I TAG THEM, on FB there is a selection to mark/report them..USE IT..

doulosg's picture

Back in the day (whenever that might have been), credible news organizations acted as gatekeepers on the news. Associated Press (AP), UPI, and presumably the New York Times would be examples. In the era of Internet news, the role of gatekeeper has been lost (also "presumably"). I am not sure that Facebook is the appropriate replacement, but someone has to try. The atrocious level of discernment among the American people is appalling.

And even the legitimate news organizations (denverpost.com is the one I most often visit) use the click-bait approach to increase their number of page views. I have made it a rule not to click on any news link that does not summarize the content in the - hmm, can I coin a term? - hyperlede, and especially if it uses a sexist graphic to get my attention.

Glen B's picture

This is an extremely dangerous tactic being taken by Facebook, Google, YouTube, etc. to censor anyone with political views different than theirs.
They use "3rd party" input by leftists that hate to see anyone post ideas that conflict with their own, therefore they tell Facebook, Google, and YouTube to censor those views and those websites with those views.
On the other hand, those of us with more libertarian views are willing to listen to views that differ from our own - even if they are nonsensical and misleading.
Facebook, Google, and YouTube are monopolies, or at least nearly monopolies and it is difficult to find competing platforms.
Monopolies should not be allowed to censor the views of those who they disagree with - including political, moral, or spiritual views that they disagree with. There is no one regulating these monopolies. Communist Russia or China, or Hitler's Germany would have loved to have been able to have this degree of censorship of their political "enemies.
I know of at least one extremely popular YouTube video creator who has given up on YouTube because all his videos are taken down because the political content is conservative.
What other competing platforms have as wide an audience? At least with Twitter, people can go to the competing GAB.AI platform.

gmthomas44_4203's picture

As someone once famously said, "I have one word for you, "FREEDOM OF SPEECH!"". It's not like someone is shouting "Fire!", in a crowded theater.

Wagashigrrl's picture

Even science is affected; the narratives of local or world news are now almost completely driven by political agendas.