False information has been a reality of the Internet for as long as people have been logging online. With hoaxes like lonelygirl15 and Illuminati conspiracy theories, the web has fooled thousands across the globe. The problem persists to this day, plaguing social media sites with bots and conspiracy theories disguised as news. Facebook, in particular, fell victim to fake news sites in the past year, causing an uproar about the effect of fakes on the 2016 presidential election cycle. Most of these false articles leaned heavily toward the right and have often been blamed for propelling president elect Trump to his win.
Mark Zuckerburg denies this connection.
— HuffPost BlackVoices (@blackvoices) November 28, 2016
According to Pew Research Center, 62 percent of adults in the United States receive their news via social media, mostly Facebook, Reddit and Twitter. This provides fake news sites with a wide audience of casual viewers that trust the information without fact checking.
In an attempt to combat the problem, both Google and Facebook have announced plans to prevent false news sites from using their ad revenue systems. This will cost the companies money, but should help curb the amount of scammers seeking to spread falsehoods for money. Mark Zuckerburg posted a description of the steps taken to restrict them further, including stronger reporting and labeling of articles and sites deemed untrustworthy.