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Google Changing Policy to Restrict Ads on Fake News Sites

November 15, 2016, 12:08 AM UTC
Inside The Google I/O Developers Conference
Sundar Pichai, senior vice president of products for Google Inc., speaks during the Google I/O Annual Developers Conference in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Thursday, May 28, 2015. Google Inc. unveiled payment services, security upgrades and access to HBO movies and shows for its popular Android software, seeking to push back against growing competition from rivals such as Apple Inc. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
David Paul Morris—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Alphabet’s Google said on Monday it is working on a policy update to restrict its ads from being placed on fake news sites as concerns mount about the rapid spread of inaccurate information online.

The policy change is imminent, Google spokeswoman Andrea Faville told Reuters.

“Moving forward, we will restrict ad serving on pages that misrepresent, misstate, or conceal information about the publisher, the publisher’s content, or the primary purpose of the web property,” she said in a statement.

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The policy change comes amid an intensifying debate over how much responsibility technology companies bear for monitoring the accuracy of content as more and more people access news through sites such as Facebook (FB) rather than traditional media companies.

Facebook, in particular, has been criticized over the spread of inaccurate articles promoting U.S. president-elect Donald Trump on the site. Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg has denied that the site influenced the outcome of the election.

Google’s (GOOG) AdSense advertising network is a key financial driver for many publishers. The company places various restrictions on where its ads may be placed, including bans on pornographic and violent content. Work on the policy update began before the election, Faville said