So far, no one in the Hillary Clinton circle, including her campaign chief John Podesta and Hillary herself, has confirmed or denied the veracity of the emails obtained by Wikileaks, leading one to believe they are indeed real emails.
We’ve learned about the (wrong)doings of the Clinton Foundation, what the Clinton camp really thinks about millennial voters, how Hillary’s housekeeper regularly handled classified material on behalf of her boss, the collusion between the State Department and the Clinton campaign and the list goes on and on.
We’re still combing through the most recent email dump – even though FBI Director James Comey has just announced that everything he’s scraped off Anthony Weiner’s laptop isn’t going to change his verdict in July that no reasonable prosecutor would bring charges against Hillary.
Nonetheless, in a last-ditch effort at damage control — and just before Comey’s announcement — the Clinton camp warned if anything else shows up from Wikileaks, it’s probably FAKE.
Friends, please remember that if you see a whopper of a Wikileaks in next two days – it's probably a fake.
— Jennifer Palmieri (@jmpalmieri) November 6, 2016
Yeah, riiiight. Nice try.
Frankly, if there’s any fake news out there it’s probably about Donald Trump.
Buzzfeed reports about an unlikely cottage industry that’s sprung up in Macedonia of all places where teenagers are raking in the dough generating fake stories about Trump.
Over the past year, the Macedonian town of Veles (population 45,000) has experienced a digital gold rush as locals launched at least 140 US politics websites. These sites have American-sounding domain names such as WorldPoliticus.com, TrumpVision365.com, USConservativeToday.com, DonaldTrumpNews.co, and USADailyPolitics.com. They almost all publish aggressively pro-Trump content aimed at conservatives and Trump supporters in the US.
The young Macedonians who run these sites say they don’t care about Donald Trump. They are responding to straightforward economic incentives: As Facebook regularly reveals in earnings reports, a US Facebook user is worth about four times a user outside the US. The fraction-of-a-penny-per-click of US display advertising — a declining market for American publishers — goes a long way in Veles. Several teens and young men who run these sites told BuzzFeed News that they learned the best way to generate traffic is to get their politics stories to spread on Facebook — and the best way to generate shares on Facebook is to publish sensationalist and often false content that caters to Trump supporters.
As a result, this strange hub of pro-Trump sites in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is now playing a significant role in propagating the kind of false and misleading content that was identified in a recent BuzzFeed News analysis of hyperpartisan Facebook pages. These sites open a window into the economic incentives behind producing misinformation specifically for the wealthiest advertising markets and specifically for Facebook, the world’s largest social network, as well as within online advertising networks such as Google AdSense.
“I started the site for a easy way to make money,” said a 17-year-old who runs a sitewith four other people. “In Macedonia the economy is very weak and teenagers are not allowed to work, so we need to find creative ways to make some money. I’m a musician but I can’t afford music gear. Here in Macedonia the revenue from a small site is enough to afford many things.”
Most of the posts on these sites are aggregated, or completely plagiarized, from fringe and right-wing sites in the US. The Macedonians see a story elsewhere, write a sensationalized headline, and quickly post it to their site. Then they share it on Facebook to try and generate traffic. The more people who click through from Facebook, the more money they earn from ads on their website.
Earlier in the year, some in Veles experimented with left-leaning or pro–Bernie Sanders content, but nothing performed as well on Facebook as Trump content.
“People in America prefer to read news about Trump,” said a Macedonian 16-year-old who operates BVANews.com.
Well, let us hope people in America also prefer to VOTE for Trump. In very large numbers. In a landslide so huge it beats the cheat…
[Note: This article was written by Michele Hickford]