After Hillary Clinton’s surprise election loss last week, Google and Facebook are cracking down on what they call “fake news”—untruthful partisan articles that they believe could have turned voters against the former Secretary of State.
One problem: the overwhelming majority of the sites deemed “fake news” are actually conservative news sites.
Facebook and Google, which control the lion’s share of the digital ad market, plan to starve these sites of funds by removing them from their ad networks. That means if a “banned” site wants to sell advertising—the primary way they can make money—they’ll have to sell the space themselves, rather than depend on the efficient, cost-effective Facebook or Google ad networks.
However, Facebook will not block the articles from users’ newsfeeds, at least initially. However, it’s unclear how many of these news sites could survive without ad revenue in the first place, since they’d be locked out of both major ad networks.
Facebook’s plan has been controversial on both sides of the aisle—both from Hillary backers, who feel Facebook should block these alleged “fake news sites” altogether, and from conservatives, who fear that the social media giant is going to only allow articles that favor a liberal point of view.
Previously, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had maintained that its content didn’t have any impact on the 2016 election–calling the notion a “crazy idea.” But, based on their new plan to cripple conservative media online, it’s clear that they may be looking to change the way people see information in advance of the 2018 or 2020 elections.