Dragomir Quoted in Financial Times' Article on Macedonia's Flourishing Fake News Industry

December 19, 2016

Marius Dragomir, Director of the Center has been quoted in the Financial Times' article on the booming fake news industry in Macedonia, where a town called Veles hosts more than a hundred US politics sites that produce hoax news. According to the Financial Times, "the hoax news creators, who decided to set up online after the success of local health websites, still make most of their money from Trump-related content. But elections next year in France and Germany offer a fresh opportunity." With regard to this, Dragomir comments that  “I think that this model can be replicated anywhere. I believe it will happen. Many will try as experiences elsewhere show that fake news can be monetised and that is going to prompt many to repeat the success [in Veles].”

As stated in the article, "some of the websites feature lively and imaginative prose, with little apparent concern for truth. “One of my best stories said Trump had slapped a Muslim guy at a rally,” said one 17-year-old website owner. Others rely on copied articles from other news sites and clickbait polls.... One website owner said he had created more than 10,000 fake Facebook profiles to post links across the social network and used an automated tool to schedule millions of posts. One of the Facebook groups he manages — “American Politics Today” — has more than 85,000 followers. Users click on the links, bringing them to the Veles sites, which cash in by selling advertising."

The article is available for subscribers at the following link: https://www.ft.com/content/333fe6bc-c1ea-11e6-81c2-f57d90f6741a

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