A News24 investigation has exposed how some of South Africa's biggest banks, insurance companies and car manufacturers have been advertising on fake news websites.
These companies are accused of contributing to the fake news industry by buying advertising on these sites.
Absa, Coronation, Cell C, Capitec, Mercedes-Benz, Takealot and OUTsurance are some of the companies implicated.
Adriaan Basson, editor-in-chief of News24, says fake news has given rise to an industry of fabricated websites.
Basson says big companies that pay for advertising on these sites compromise their own credibility.
According to Basson, many of the private companies have since initiated steps to withdraw their ad spend from these sites.
He explains that search engine Google sells advertising on these fake news websites using Google AdSense.
News24 has challenged the internet giant for failing to blacklist fake news websites, Basson says.
He says News24 is calling for more responsible internet practices and more responsible advertising spending.
I think people have very different definitions of what fake news constitutes.— Adriaan Basson, editor-in-chief of News24
In this case, we zoomed in on stories that are completely falsified and made up.— Adriaan Basson, editor-in-chief of News24
Google does not blacklist fake news websites. This is where they need to face some of the fire.— Adriaan Basson, editor-in-chief of News24
We've seen how fake news can actually influence democratic process during the Trump election and Brexit.— Adriaan Basson, editor-in-chief of News24
If you want to play in the media and advertising space, you have to be responsible and care about credibility and integrity. You also have to be held to the same standards that those of us in media are kept to.— Adriaan Basson, editor-in-chief of News24
Listen to the in-depth discussion on Breakfast with Kieno Kammies:
This article first appeared on CapeTalk : News24 exposes how big SA corporates are funding fake news