Mark Zuckerberg. Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Facebook is further clamping down on fake news.
Starting today, the company will ban repeat offenders — pages that repeatedly share stories marked as false — from advertising on its platform. The update, also announced in a blog post, is designed to help reduce the distribution of what the company calls “false news,” and keep pages that spread such misinformation from making money.
“Our goal is to build an informed community on the Facebook news feed,” Rob Leathern, Facebook’s product director for business integrity, told Business Insider. “The distribution of false news is damaging to that objective.”
The company has already been working with third-party fact-checkers like Snopes and the Associated Press to flag inaccurate news stories. It also prevents a story that is marked as disputed from being promoted through Facebook ads. And earlier this month, it launched a feature called Related Articles, under which when you see certain controversial or hotly debated stories in your news feed, below them will appear a series of headlines from other publishers on the same topic.
Blocking ad-buying is an economic ploy as it makes it harder for such entities to attract larger audiences and prevents them from making money, according to Leathern.
“We’ve seen pages repeatedly spread misinformation and buy Facebook ads to gain bigger audiences,” he said. “So this step is to stop them from amassing bigger audiences.”
It’s worth noting that these are not permanent bans. According to Facebook, if pages stop sharing false news, they may be eligible to start running ads again. The company also declined to share the number of offenders that are on its initial list or specific details around how these pages can start running ads again.
“This is not a short-term, but a long-term initiative for us,” said Leathern. “We don’t want to reveal too much because we don’t want them to game the system.”