Mark Zuckerberg with Angela Merkel

Mark Zuckerberg with Angela Merkel (Credit Image: © Steffen Kugler/DPA via ZUMA Press)

Facebook has tightened its rules on who can make money from advertising on its network, responding to criticism that it is too simple for providers of fake news and sensational headlines to cash in.

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The new standards coincided with an appearance by Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg in Germany, one of Facebook’s toughest critics on hate speech and safeguarding privacy.

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Marketing executives have criticised Facebook for failing to ensure that the digital ads distributed to its more than 2 billion active users reach their intended audience.

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‘We hear their concerns about safe environments, about standards, about measurement, and this is critical to us,’ she said.

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To make money on Facebook in future, content creators and publishers will have to comply with its so-called community standards, which seek to ensure that content is authentic, not offensive and adheres to its guidelines.

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Also covered are depictions of death, casualties and physical injuries in tragedies such as natural disasters; and content that is incendiary, inflammatory, demeaning or disparaging towards people or groups.

Facebook said it will provide post-campaign feedback to advertisers that clearly identifies the publishers that ran their ads.

Facebook will also step up its monitoring of hate speech, adding 3,000 content reviewers to nearly double the size of its existing team, Senior Vice President for Global Marketing Solutions Carolyn Everson said in a blog post.

‘As soon as we determine that content has breached our community standards, we remove it. With a community as large as Facebook, however, zero tolerance cannot mean zero occurrence,’ she said.

Germany has led the way in demanding action on hate speech. Its parliament passed a law in June to introduce fines of up to 50 million euros ($60 million) for social media networks if they fail to remove hateful postings promptly.

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