A Facebook fake news writer suggests that he earns thousands of dollars each month for writing fake news such as about the American Presidential elections.
According to a BuzzFeed report, fake news websites are gaining a lot of popularity in Veles, a small town in Macedonia. Locals in the town have launched about 140 websites focused on U.S. politics.
BuzzFeed added that to attract American readers and to sound authentic, these websites had American-sounding domain names such as TrumpVision365.com, DonaldTrumpNews.co and more. Many of these websites published fake Trump supporting news to attract conservationists.
How Fake News Writers Make Money?
Online advertisers pay site owners based on pay-per-visit or pay-per-click models. The advertisers may not know if the news published by a website is genuine or not.
"Yes, the info in the blogs is bad, false, and misleading but the rationale is that "if it gets the people to click on it and engage, then use it,'" said a Veles-based creator of a U.S. politics site.
How Did This Fake News Help Donald Trump?
Paul Horner, a Facebook-focused fake news writer, spoke to The Washington Post and claims that he earns about $10,000 each month by writing fake news.
"Pope Francis Shocks World, Endorses Donald Trump for President, Releases Statement" is not true but the fake news attracted many people interested in U.S. politics. The number of Facebook shares of the news was believed to be about 100,000.
Horner claims that his fake news websites were picked by many Donald Trump followers, believing the news were legit.
"I think Trump is in the White House because of me. His followers don't fact-check anything — they'll post everything, believe anything. His campaign manager posted my story about a protester getting paid $3,500 as fact. Like, I made that up. I posted a fake ad on Craigslist," says Horner.
What Does Facebook Have To Say About Fake News On Its Website?
Facebook is a great way of sharing news with friends. At the peak of the U.S. election, U.S. politics followers would share a lot of news with friends without finding the authenticity of those news.
Although Horner claims that his fake news on Facebook has helped Trump to win the 2016 Presidential election, Mark Zuckerberg — the CEO and founder of the social media website — says that Facebook did not influence the elections.
"Voters make decisions based on their lived experience," says Zuckerberg. "I think there is a certain profound lack of empathy in asserting that the only reason why someone could have voted the way they did is because they saw some fake news."
A large number of online users check news from Facebook and it is important that the company take necessary actions to curb fake news from its website. It remains to be seen how swiftly companies like Facebook and Google find a way to fight fake news.