Infographic: How to make a killing from fake news
In December 2016, following widespread claims that misleading reporting on social media had influenced the outcome of the US presidential election, Mark Zuckerberg was poised to unveil Facebook’s plans to tackle fake news. In DG #25, Evil Stick Man showed us how to cash in on the trend for tall tales…
1. Purchase cheap expired domains with names that resemble those of existing news organisations or that indicate a partisan stance.
2. Set up sites and social accounts for your domains. Mimic the design of websites from mainstream news organisations. Install share buttons.
3. Hook your site up to an ad network that rewards high traffic.
4. Identify news topics about which large groups of people have strong opinions, fears or suspicions. For example national elections, health, pets or celebrities.
5. Employ a boiler room of young writers in an impoverished country with decent internet connectivity to plagiarise genuine stories around your chosen topics.
6. Boost some of these real news reports with Facebook ads to grow your social media following, increasing the likelihood that people will share content from your websites.
7. Instruct your writers to start fabricating outrageous stories around your topics, the more provocative and outlandish the better.
8. Watch some of your most outrageously inaccurate news stories go viral and see ad revenues stream in. Repeat steps 2 to 7.
9. You are now rich. Pay somebody to switch the winners’ envelopes at a high-profile awards ceremony. Enjoy a well-earned cackle.
We’ve pulled together Evil Stick Man’s adventures in our first ever book, How to be evil. You can buy it for £10 including shipping in our online shop.
Words: Loes Witschge | Illustrations: Christian Tate
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