Fake news is a real plague on the Internet, and in many cases the cause of near panic, arguments, even in some cases legislative actions for events that have never occurred, as happened in Colorado.
A fake news report in NationalNews.net, claimed customers in marijuana shops in Colorado were paying with food stamps. As a result of the backlash, a state representative in the House proposed legislation for something that never happened. Does the possibility exist? It seems it was enough for the House to consider Senate Bill 37 to add “pot shops” to the list of places where the electronic benefit cards could not be used.
ABCNews.com.co, Conservative Frontline, Denver Guardian, DrudgeReport.com.co, Firebrand Left, International Report, National Report, United Media Publishing, usatoday.com.co, washingtonpost.com.co, are the fake news sites known to have been created by one person, and there may be more.
Chances are you’ve never heard of Jestin Coler. His name is not in the news, or at least not that you would recognize. Still his efforts have been recognizable in a way you would not expect. He is the creator of the above named fake news sites! Are you amazed? Keep reading.
Laura Sydell of NPR or National Public Radio, decided to track down one fake news site, which led to it’s creator Jestin Coler. See her story for more details here. The point is this is just one creator of fake news. Wikipedia presents a list of 60 fake news sites, and this is not an exhaustive list. Here’s another source that lists additional sites.
However the problem gets more mainstream, when sources like Washington Post reporters post fictional accounts, also known as “lies,” of events supposedly taking place at the WH as just one example. Other of the primary news outlets as noted here are more examples of how widespread this distortion of the truth has gotten.
It almost seems that the feeding frenzy by the major news outlets started when they saw the way fake news sites were raking in readers and revenue. Coler, with a Political Science background, says he started his efforts in 2013, as an experiment. Being a Democrat, he seemed intrigued with the idea of “messing” with the people who fell for his stories. The gullible masses.
They’re just words, weaving a story, intended to “entertain.” At least that’s what most would claim, while others openly admit it’s about the money. With reported revenues ranging from $10,000 to $30,000 per month, that would be a pretty good inducement.
Google was not overly impressed with one of the more popular sites and banned all advertising. Yet Coler claimed there were 60 different ad networks filling his inbox wanting to do business. What are we headed for if this continues to proliferate? Will anything be believable in the near future.
Spam was and still is the scourge of the internet. The comparison doesn’t seem to be far apart. Where one is really just a lot of mumble jumble that really doesn’t seem to have a real purpose than to frustrate and irritate, fake news at least does entertain, even after it’s discovered to be little more than just…words.