Fake News

Google cracked down on 2.3 billion bad ads last year

Google published its yearly look at “bad ads” on Thursday, detailing how the company fought bad advertising practices in 2018.

In total, the search giant took down 2.3 billion ads that violated its advertising policies last year. That’s more than 6 million bad ads removed every day. 

This number is down from the previous year when Google reported it eliminated 3.2 billion ads from its network.

Google also terminated its relationship with nearly one million bad advertiser accounts and almost 734,000 publishers and app developers — close to double the amount from 2017. The company also removed ads from nearly 28 million webpages and 1.5 million apps. Read more…

More about Google, Advertising, Scams, Fake News, and Google Adwords

WhatsApp continues fight against fake news with new ‘search image’ feature

WhatsApp is continuing to ramp up the fight against fake news, this time setting its sight on visual misinformation.

The Facebook-owned messaging app is currently testing a new “search image” feature that allows users to easily upload an image found on its platform to Google, according to WABetaInfo. The image tool was discovered in the latest WhatsApp beta for Android.

With the tap of a button, WhatsApp will send a photo from within its application to the search giant. The messaging app will then direct users to a Google search results page that shows “similar or equal images” elsewhere on the web.  Read more…

More about Photos, Whatsapp, Misinformation, Fake News, and Disinformation

Fabula AI is using social spread to spot ‘fake news’

WhatsApp bans 2 million fake accounts per month

WhatsApp is on the offensive.

In New Delhi on Wednesday, Facebook-owned WhatsApp held a press conference to share how it is tackling fake accounts and the spread of misinformation on its platform of 1.5 billion users

The conference was especially urgent because India will hold its elections in April — and India, site of WhatsApp’s biggest user base, is also where WhatsApp has seen dangerous abuse that led to violence and death

According to a report from ZDNet, WhatsApp has been able to automate a lot of the bot and spam catching-process, and even proactively prevent potential abuse. It bans 2 million accounts per month, and reportedly catches 75 percent of those accounts without human intervention. Read more…

More about Facebook, India, Whatsapp, Fake News, and Tech

Facebook will award bonuses to employees who fix its fake news, hate speech problems

Facebook wants all hands on deck when it comes to fixing the problems that have been dogging the website.

One day after the social network celebrated its 15 year anniversary, Facebook announced that its overhauling its employee bonus structure to focus on “social good.” The change in the way that the company is rewarding its employees was first reported by Fortune after an all-hands meeting at Facebook headquarters on Tuesday.

The company’s former bonus system was centered on building on Facebook’s business, rewarding employees based on metrics such as user growth and increasing engagement. In the face of mounting criticism on issues ranging from the proliferation of misinformation and election interference on the social network to spreading hate speech, Facebook is changing its course on what they need to center in order to better the platform. Now, the company will reward solutions that help the platform progress on social issues. Read more…

More about Facebook, Social Good, Fake News, Hate Speech, and Tech

Facebook removes hundreds of accounts linked to fake news group in Indonesia

Fake news sites are simply changing their domain name to get around Facebook fact-checkers

Facebook has been cracking down on the fake news that gets shared on its platform. One problem: one of the biggest fake news websites has found a workaround.

In order to avoid Facebook’s fact checking system, the site formerly known as YourNewsWire, one of the most well-known purveyors of fake news online, has simply rebranded. The site now goes by News Punch and posts fake news content similar to what it published under their former name, according to a report by Poynter

YourNewsWire co-founders Sinclair Treadway and Sean Adl-Tabatabai, who reside in California, founded the site in 2014. The two completely migrated the website from the “yournewswire.com” domain name to “newspunch.com” in November 2018. Treadway told Bloomberg at the time that they move was made due to declining revenue thanks to Facebook’s fact-checking system. Under this program, fact-checking outlets like Snopes are able to mark content posted on Facebook as false, which in turn decreases the site’s reach on Facebook. Read more…

More about Facebook, Fake News, Domain Names, Tech, and Politics

Google ups its anti-fake news game ahead of EU elections

As a company with a popular online service for just about everything, from e-mail to productivity to maps, Google is in a unique position when it comes to fighting fake news. 

On Tuesday, the company shared an update about its efforts to combat disinformation, fake news and abuse ahead of upcoming European Parliament elections, due this May. 

In the post, Google shares some examples of just how far online abuse can go when it comes to snatching votes — or stopping the other party from getting them. Besides plain old fake news, these include state-sponsored phishing attacks and “attempts to alter Maps so people can’t find their polling station.”  Read more…

More about Google, Elections, Eu, Fake News, and Tech

As Clegg appears in Brussels, Facebook tightens controls on political ads, opens Dublin control center ahead of European elections

YouTube promises to stop recommending flat Earth and 9/11 truther videos

Even without Alex Jones, harmful conspiracy theory videos were running rampant on YouTube. Now, the company says it’s going to take action.

In a blog post published on Friday, YouTube said it would be making changes to its recommendations algorithm to explicitly deal with conspiracy theory videos. The company says the update will reduce the suggestion of “borderline content and content that could misinform users in harmful ways.”

YouTube clarified what kind of videos fit that description by providing three examples: “videos promoting a phony miracle cure for a serious illness, claiming the earth is flat, or making blatantly false claims about historic events like 9/11.” Read more…

More about Youtube, Conspiracy Theories, Fake News, Flat Earth, and Recommendations