Facebook has taken multiple steps in its war against fake news, and the social network’s latest move might end up being the proverbial nail in the coffin.
If a page repeatedly shares stories marked as false, it will no longer be allowed to advertise on Facebook. The social media company already had a ban on ads that link to stories marked as false by third-party checkers, and this new policy cements Facebook’s stance on distributing any kind of fake stories or facts.
Facebook announced this decision via their newsroom, and the update is designed to further reduce the distribution of fake news, as the purveyors of said content will not be able to make money from ad revenue.
“We’ve found instances of Pages using Facebook ads to build their audiences in order to distribute false news more broadly,” a post in the Facebook newsroom reads. “Now, if a Page repeatedly shares stories that have been marked as false by third-party fact-checkers, they will no longer be able to buy ads on Facebook.”
If a page stops sharing fake news, it may be eligible for ads once again. There is no timeline on how to gain that privilege back though.
As Facebook has written time and time again, fake news is harmful to any community, as it diminishes a reader’s ability to make a clear and informed decision. In the past, Facebook has instituted several ways to fight the spread of false information, from AI-enabled cloaking to a “cross-check” method during this year’s French election.
This move by Facebook will prevent what some call growth-hacking, where new pages share fake but highly-enticing articles or headlines in an effort to drive as many people as possible to their page.
A large amount of Facebook’s revenue comes from advertising, but executives have stated that a crackdown on fake news ads will not drastically affect earnings.