Ad buyers are joining the fight against the “fake news” that many people blame for misinforming voters during the presidential campaign.
Although the focus initially fell on Facebook and Google, where made-up headlines became easy to find, pressure has also come to bear on lesser-known companies that provide the financial motivation for fake news.
Now ad-fraud fighters, usually hired to prevent scam artists from stealing ad budgets with fake traffic, are being asked to help brands avoid websites with real audiences but with fake stories.
“Brand safety” online has historically involved making sure ads don’t appear on pornographic or vulgar websites. That’s changed, as fake news sites have found themselves working with nearly every major player in ad tech.
“This is a new frontier in the fraud war and it came out of a weird place,” said Scott Meyer, CEO of Ghostery. “And it’s going to be a challenge for these companies for exactly that reason.”