Google and Facebook Take Aim at Fake-News Sites

Companies address spread of misinformation after false news stories became an issue during the presidential election

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By Jack Nicas and Deepa Seetharaman

Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google announced steps to prevent fake-news websites from generating revenue through their ad-selling services, signs that technology companies are moving to address a growing controversy about misinformation on the internet.

A Facebook spokesman said it will explicitly ban sites that traffic in fake news from using the Facebook Audience Network, saying they fall under the category of misleading, illegal or deceptive sites already barred. The audience network places ads on other websites and mobile apps.

Earlier Monday, Google said it plans to prevent Google ads from being placed “on pages that misrepresent, misstate, or conceal information about the publisher, the publisher’s content, or the primary purpose” of the website. The policy would cover sites that distribute false news, a Google spokeswoman said.

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