Facebook will try to stem the spread of fake news, even if it means cutting off some revenue.
Facebook will block Pages that repeatedly publish posts flagged as fake news from buying ads on the social network, the company announced on Monday. “If Pages stop sharing false news, they may be eligible to start running ads again,” Facebook product managers Satwik Shukla and Tessa Lyons wrote in a company blog post.
Facebook already forbids Pages from buying ads that link to articles flagged as fake, through a process involving third-party fact-checkers that Facebook enacted earlier this year. But that policy didn’t wholly prevent fake news publishers from using Facebook as a way to drive traffic, since they could still buy ads linking to non-fake articles on their sites. Now Facebook is extending the penalty.
A Facebook spokesperson declined to say how many fake news posts a Page must have shared to be banned from buying ads. Asked whether the policy applies retroactively to posts published in the past, the spokesperson said that the change will start to take effect today.
After being criticized for fueling the rise of fake news leading into last year’s presidential election, Facebook has been stepping up its efforts to tamp down that spread. In addition to working with outside companies like ABC News, PolitiFact and Snopes to confirm or dispute links’ veracity, Facebook has kicked fake news publishers out of its ad network and banned advertisers and Pages that try to disguise links in ads and posts that violate Facebook’s rules.