Native Ad Expert Calls On Industry To Help Google, Facebook Shut Down Fake News

Native ad software publisher Sharethrough is calling on publishers to stop fake news from serving up in Google search and Facebook News streams, and asking advertisers to stop buying ad space on publisher sites that don't boycott the content.

Fantastical news stories similar to the ones published in grocery store tabloids have begun to infiltrate the Web, but the biggest issue with is that availability to the content spreads much wider and faster online compared with print. And for some strange reason, people reading this content online take it as truth more often than not.  

"We are currently in an era where a new breed of bad actors are exploiting an oversaturated media environment by publishing blatantly false articles to make short-term profits by spreading sensationalized misinformation," Dan Greenberg, founder and CEO at Sharethrough, wrote in a blog post.

"Sadly, fake and deliberately misleading news can spread like wildfire on Facebook, faster than real news, because of the nature of confirmation bias and the fantastical nature of the headlines. This trend is hugely detrimental to society."

Greenberg, who serves as the co-chair of the IAB native ad committee and taught a class at Stanford on Facebook, also wrote that if an advertiser actively funds fake news sites by buying ad space, they should reconsider that strategy.

Facebook generated more engagement than the top stories from major news outlets, such as The New York Times, during the final three months of the U.S. presidential campaign, according to analysis from BuzzFeed News. The data shows that 20 top-performing false election stories from hoax sites and hyper-partisan blogs generated 8,711,000 shares, reactions, and comments on Facebook.

Compare this with 19 major news Web sites that generated 7,367,000 shares, reactions, and comments on Facebook. 

While publishers need to take responsibility for what they serve on the Web, it's also important for readers to view the content with a critical eye and distinguish fact from fiction. It's ridiculous to believe that Facebook and Google can become the gatekeepers of truth, but as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg puts it, the industry must build stronger technology that detects and measures misinformation.

This means stronger algorithms to detect what people flag as false and misleading information.

Zuckerberg also wrote that Facebook is exploring the labeling of stories that have been flagged as false by third parties in the social site's community, similar to the way Google flags malicious sites.

2 comments about "Native Ad Expert Calls On Industry To Help Google, Facebook Shut Down Fake News".
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  1. Craig Mcdaniel from Sweepstakes Today LLC, November 22, 2016 at 6:25 p.m.

    If we who publish (note that I am one of the very few publishers who do comment on MediaPost) get blacklisted on a legit story or even comment, this will be the next great growth market for class action attorneys. Maybe we will see new late night TV commericals like, If you have been harmed or blacklisted then call this 800 number. The point is, perceived censorship is a very senitive subject.

    The better way might be this. We publish sweepstakes and not political comments on our website. I tell the members in our Terms of Service Agreement about what can be said and about false advertising comments in our Forum and sweepstakes comment section. I let the members know if they want to talk about politics there are websites that you can go to post your comments on. ST is about sweepstakes and your comments are limited to subjects related to the website. I reserve the right to restrict a member's comments if I deem them to be hurtful or harmful to others. I took away a handful of members right to comment when they made racist comments or very foul language.  However the main party to this story, Facebook, this is not a option because they are worldwide and no current restrictions to speak of.

    Facebook and Zuckerberg problem is they painted themself into a corner a long time ago and the paint still hasn't dried yet. Worse, he doesn't want to hire live people to deal with the subject of fake news. He wants to automate the process with algorithms which will not work without harming someone.

  2. Klaus Schneegans from Buzz360, LLC, November 22, 2016 at 10:43 p.m.

    If the "real" news sources would be more truthful in their reproting, there would be very little attraction to the "fake" news.  Also, as long as it was only the "real" news publications who used outragous clickbate headlines it was fine, now that they are being beaten at their own game, it's a problem.  Interesting...

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