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By Eric Lieberman
Google booted 200 publishers from its advertising network partly due to the outcry of fake news spreading throughout the Internet.
Google announced Wednesday that it reviewed 550 sites in roughly two months, and took action against 340 of them for violating policies. Two-hundred publishers were kicked out of its network permanently.
It is common practice for Google to continuously filter out marketers that make fraudulent or misleading claims — like “weight-loss scams,” “imitation designer watches” — but certain sites that potentially publish dishonest information are now on the chopping block.
“In 2016, we saw the rise of tabloid cloakers, a new type of scammer that tries to game our system by pretending to be news,” Scott Spencer, the director of product management at Sustainable Ads, wrote in an official blog post (emphasis theirs). “Cloakers often take advantage of timely topics—a government election, a trending news story or a popular celebrity—and their ads can look like headlines on a news website. But when people click on that story about Ellen DeGeneres and aliens, they go to a site selling weight-loss products, not a news story.”
Publishers that impersonate legitimate news organizations by abridging web addresses were also part of the banishment, signaling that its not mainly about purging misleading news.
Specifically, 1.7 billion advertisements were removed, which is more than double the amount axed in 2015.
“We support industry efforts like the Coalition for Better Ads to protect people from bad experiences across the web. While we took down more bad ads in 2016 than ever before, the battle doesn’t end here,” Spencer continued.