Google Has Punished 340 Fake News Sites Since November

Google took steps against 340 fake news site in November and December, the company said as part of a report on fraudulent advertising Wednesday. Close to 200 of those sites were permanently banned from using Google ads, the company said.

Google, much like Facebook, has been under increased scrutiny for its role in the spreading of false and misleading news ever since the presidential election in November. The company responded to this the same month with changes to its Adsense policy, prohibiting sites that “misrepresent, misstate, or conceal information about the publisher, the publisher’s content, or the primary purpose” of the site to use Google ads for monetization.

Google said on Wednesday that it had reviewed some 550 sites since those policy changes, resulting in permanent bans for nearly 200 and temporarily cutting off another 140 sites from the company’s ad dollar spigot.

The company also revealed that it took down 1.7 billion ads for various policy violations in 2016. This included 17 million ads for illegal gambling, 5 million payday load ads and 80 million misleading or shocking ads.

As much as cutting off ad revenue may hurt so-called fake news sites, critics are likely not going to be content with this step alone. Google has increasingly been criticized for the way its algorithms highlight certain news sources as well.

For instance, in November, the first Google result for “who won the popular vote” was a conspiracy blog misrepresenting the outcome of the election. And in December, the search engine highlighted a made-up story about President Obama supposedly looking to a third term.


Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • Best Podcasts: 14 Podcasts You Should

    14 Podcasts You Should Be Listening to

    Here are a few of the informative, funny, thrilling and downright addictive podcasts that deserve your listening attention. Read Variety’s cover story, a deep dive into the podcast revolution with Conan O’Brien, right here. CaliphateThe New York Times Rukmini Callimachi’s reporting about the Islamic State is harrowing boots-on-the-ground journalism at its finest. Conan O’Brien Needs [...]

  • Lee-Daniels-headshot

    Lee Daniels Entertainment Announces Diverse Creative Workshop

    Lee Daniels Entertainment and the online entertainment network Represent by OMV have launched a diversity-focused creative workshop to promote a diverse group of new writers. The workshop will be held from Sept. 25-28 in Los Angeles, with travel provided by American Airlines. Industry professionals will mentor aspiring creatives from underrepresented communities with workshops, meetings with [...]

  • Apple-Card-on-iPhoneXs-screen

    Apple Card Launches in U.S. With 3% Cash Back on Apple, Uber Purchases

    Apple launched Apple Card, a new credit card tied to iPhones that it’s offering in partnership with Mastercard and Goldman Sachs, broadly in the U.S. The card, available to all qualified users in the U.S. starting Tuesday, is designed to encourage people to make more purchases from Apple and keep them in the iPhone ecosystem: [...]

  • Erika Nardini - Barstool Sports

    For Barstool Sports, Podcasts Are Now Around One-Third of Revenue

    Barstool Sports isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. The site trades in a style of raw humor and commentary that some find offensive. The company has a shoot-from-the-lip founder whose gags having included joking about union-busting, a move that would violate federal labor laws. But the brazen media outfit has drawn a large and loyal fanbase. [...]

  • Conan O'Brien Needs a Friend Podcast

    Conan O'Brien on Podcasting and Why Late-Night TV Rivalries Are Over

    “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend” is an irresistible mixture of philosophical discussions about art and life and pure zaniness. It’s a program from the late-night host turned podcasting ringmaster that defies easy characterization, and a show that manages to move seamlessly from moments of hilarity to unexpected instances of confession. In one episode, Jeff Goldblum [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content