Leo Ntourntourekas, Nick Crowe, Ryan Coughlin

Before learning about how to find reliable sources and not be susceptible to fake news, it is important to understand its origins and why it is created in the first place. Understanding the reasons behind why fake news is created will lead to a greater understanding of the topic as a whole. There are many different reasons as to why a person would create fake news but we are going to explore some of the most popular methods and why they are reaching so many people.

One of the most profound sources of fake news is a small country Macedonia, that CNN in a recent article (that you can find here) describes as “a home to dozens of website operators who churn out bogus stories designed to attract the attention of Americans”. The “bogus stories” gain thousands of clicks through the wild headlines which in return makes thousands of dollars.

So: How do clicks make money, and just how much money are they making?


The click bait articles that these Macedonians make are created exclusively to attract attention to that article and the website in general. This creates money through the website because of Google’s ad-sense program, “The profits come primarily from ad services such as Google’s ad-sense, which place targeted advertisements around the web. Each click sends a little bit of cash back to the content creator” (CNN). When a victim of click bait clicks on the article, the web page shows many advertisements. Because Google is making money through these advertisements because of the content creator bringing attention to them, Google pays the content creator a share of the ad money. Just how much money exactly?

We’re unsure of how much Google takes away from advertising earnings because they do not disclose that monstrous amount anywhere. What we do know however, is how much the click bait masters are making through this. One Macedonian named Mikhail claims, “At 22, I was earning more than someone [in Macedonia] will ever learn in his entire life” (CNN). The average monthly income in Macedonia is $426, while this 22 year old man can earn up to $2,500 per day.

With their aim on the 2020 election, the Macedonians have no desire to stop their ever growing and ever so successful business. They are continuing to study how to make their websites look more believable and feel more believable than ever. Because this new business has caused so many benefits in their very small, poor, country, more and more Macedonians are beginning to learn about the game of fooling Americans for profit.

With this being said, creating fake news for profit is not the only benefit that can come from it. Many blogs or fake news sites create falsified news simply to put their ideas into the minds of the public, for typically a political gain. A good example of this is a website called “The Conservative Treehouse.” This republican blog falsifies news stories to put a negative light on the left and make people believe that the left is, according to them, “about fear and control.” According to snopes, this blog has fabricated articles in regards to Philando Castile, an innocent black man murdered by police, Puerto Rico’s distribution issues, and many others, all with the goal of putting the republican party in a brighter light than the left.

On a more grand scale, fake news for political gain is very well known through campaign videos. Politifact has debunked all of the lies told in the attack videos between Trump and Hillary. Campaign/attack videos are designed specifically to put the opponent in a very negative point of view. Along with dim lighting, red and black colors and scary music, they also feature many facts that are skewed to sound as bad as possible. One of the articles most profound examples is in a Hillary attack video, where it shows Trump saying, “I can’t say that I respect women.” However, the article proved that this quote was edited through two different clips of Trump talking. The attack video created this false news simply to put Trump in a very negative light to people across all parties.

With social media allowing anyone to post articles behind a seemingly reliable source, the amount of click bait articles attempting to make money and falsified news stories for political gain will flourish more than ever. With this being said, it will be paramount to inform yourself of the many tactics to read through the ever growing flow of fake news.


Works Cited

“The Fake News Machine: Inside a Town Gearing up for 2020.” CNNMoney, Cable News Network, money.cnn.com/interactive/media/the-macedonia-story/.

“10 Most Aired Political Ads, Fact-Checked.” PolitiFact, www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2016/nov/03/10-most-aired-political-ads-fact-checked/.



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Fake News and What to do About It Copyright © by Leo Ntourntourekas, Nick Crowe, Ryan Coughlin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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