Google reportedly serves fake ads to fact-checking sites
It’s not just Facebook that has a fake news advertising problem. Google also found evidence of Russian influence in the most recent US presidential election, and reportedly set up anti-Muslim ads (which it subsequently shut down). Now, according to a report in The New York Times, fake ads that look like news are appearing on sites that actively try to counter fake news, including Politifact and Snopes.According to the report, the ads would lead with a controversial, clickbait-style headline, which would take readers to a legitimate-looking fake version of People or Vogue. After a headline and large photo about the fake news (“Melania isn’t staying at the White House,” “Televangelist Joel Osteen is leaving his wife!”), the fake article devolved into a pitch for anti-age face cream or other such product. The process is something Google calls “tabloid cloaking,” something Google claims it shut down more than 1,300 accounts that were engaging in the practice last year. The Times reports that while these fake publishers used Google’s AdWords system to get their fake ads to large sites, it’s not clear they were targeting fact-checking sites specifically.
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