How teenagers publishing lies influenced the US voter decision
Hours away from Donald j Trump’s inauguration, we must have a moment of silence for the Republic of Macedonia, located in the southeast of Europe. The county sits on a 25,713 Square Kilometers with an estimate population of 2 million people.
Macedonia has played a big part in the US election being the source of fake news on social media. Headlines like “Hillary Clinton is a pedophile”,“Hilary Clinton sold arms to ISIS” played a big part in America’s decision in the 2016 election.
Most website owners between the ages of 16 and 18 live in Veles, a town in Macedonia. The millennials make a living from the websites followed the most by Americans. During the campaign, the publishers made the most out of controversial stories inspired by Donald and Clinton. Democracy in the most powerful nation on earth was undermined by teenagers who sat behind their PCs and put out the fake news.
One Boris, (not his real name) admitted to having made at least $60,000 in the past six months surpassing his parents’ income and transforming his prospects in a town where the average annual wage is $4,800. His main target he says, was the president-elect’s supporters.
Headlines that put Hillary Clinton in bad light were jackpots during the campaign. Even after Google and Facebook launched a crackdown on fake news, Andrew says the money still continues to pour in.
Talking to NBC News, Boris admitted to having written mostly about Hilary’s emails, the Benghazi tragedy and her illness that negatively affected her campaign. Now Boris says he has moved on to headlines like ”Trey Gowdy Revealed His EPIC Plan To Imprison Hillary Now That Election’s Over, SHE IS DONE!”
More than 100 fake news websites have been traced to the small town. The high rate of unemployment in a town that previously depended on heavy industry explains why young people have turned this into a business.
This teenagers making thousands of dollars from the clicks and followers have no idea how they swayed public opinion in the country’s election.
“The most-read news articles are usually the ones containing the click-bait words,” Boris says. “The click bait words, as you know, are, ‘Oh my god, breaking news, wow,’ and usually something that has never been aired before. Because if the title just says, ‘Today this happened, today that happened,’ no one will open that.”
Boris says feeding fake news to the audience during an error where most people believe anything on the internet is very easy.