Tech goliaths Google and Facebook have announced that they will prohibit so-called “fake news” outlets from receiving ad revenue through their proprietary program, a move that many have blasted as a veiled attack on conservative-leaning websites that support Donald Trump.
The news comes as many mainstream media outlets have clamored to blame “fake news” for handing Donald Trump the victory over Hillary Clinton. Google plans to ban sites that “misrepresent, misstate, or conceal information,” giving itself sole discretion to determine which outlets fall under such a wide umbrella.
Facebook, meanwhile, has updated its policies to prevent fake news sites from taking advantage of its Audience Network ad repository, a move that seems like a convenient pivot away from its previous attempts to filter its News Feed.
A Gizmodo report in May revealed that the News Feed had been manipulated by biased “curators,” Facebook employees with the power to determine which articles were trending and which were blacklisted, often depending on their personal political beliefs.
“I’d come on shift and I’d discover that CPAC or Mitt Romney or Glenn Beck or popular conservative topics wouldn’t be trending because either the curator didn’t recognize the news topic or it was like they had a bias against Ted Cruz,” one former curator told Gizmodo at the time.
The scandal represented an embarrassing blemish for Facebook, which was subject to a Senate Commerce Committee probe that led to the company taking steps to de-politicize its News Feed postings.