Google boots 200 fake news sites

surprised-newspaper-readerGoogle kicked 200 publishers off one of its ad networks in the fourth quarter, partly in response to the proliferation of fake news sites.

The sites were banned from its AdSense network and is part of an update to an existing policy that prohibits sites from misleading users with their content.

Google regularly weeds out advertisers for false or misleading claims, but impersonating news sites became an addition following the rapid rise of fake news, or propaganda sites.

Publishers were banned in November and December and included sites that impersonate real news organisations through shortened top-level domains, according to Google’s 2016 “bad ads” report, normally released at the beginning of each year.

So-called fake news publishers will sometimes take advantage of “.co” domains by appearing like legitimate news sites that would normally end in “.com”.

Google said in 2016 it took down 1.7 billion ads for violations, compared to 780 million in 2015. Google attributes the increase in ad removals to a combination of advertiser behaviour and improvements in technology to detect offending ads.