For the past several months leading up to the presidential election, fake news stories have flooded social media.
But now after the election, a 16-year-old from Macedonia has been discovered as one of the hundreds of faces behind the pro-Donald Trump political stories.
A teenager only identified as Victor is the editor of fake news site, News Today, Channel 4 revealed.
He told the station that people are ‘thirsty for the articles’.
A teenager only identified as Victor (pictured) is the editor of fake news site, Total News. For the past several months leading up to the presidential election, fake news stories like the ones written on Victor’s site flooded social media
When a Channel 4 reporter (left) asked Victor why he made the fake news site, he responded: ‘For money for recreation, I don’t know how to put this. There isn’t much to do around here.’ He said a lot of kids there are doing it because they are bored
‘That’s all I have to say about them. They want to hear news about Donald Trump,’ Victor said.
Hundreds of people in Veles, a small town in central Macedonia, are making fake news websites and more than 100 have been traced to the town by Channel 4.
Locals told the station that some people, mainly millennials, are making more than $200,000 for producing the fake sites.
When a Channel 4 reporter asked Victor why he made the fake news site, he responded: ‘For money, for recreation, I don’t know how to put this. There isn’t much to do around here.
‘A lot of kids don’t go out, we’re doing this out of boredom.’
Victor told the station that he does feel bad about Americans receiving the news and actually believing it; however, he said he will continue.
The young Macedonians who run these sites say they don’t care about Trump.
Earlier this month, BuzzFeed reported that locals in Veles launched at least 140 US politics websites.
These sites have American-sounding domain names such as TrumpVision365.com and DonaldTrumpNews.co.
Most of the content was pro-Trump aimed at conservatives and Trump supporters in the US.
Victor said that he does feel bad about Americans receiving the news and actually believing it; however, he said he will continue to keep stories on his site (pictured)
Another fake news site was said to be BVA News, which shares stories like this on Facebook
But Macedonia may not be the only country to blame as a new report suggests that a ‘sophisticated’ Russian propaganda campaign helped flood social media with fake news stories leading up to the presidential election.
A yet-to-be published report from independent researchers said the goal was to punish Hillary Clinton, help Trump and undermine faith in American democracy, according to The Washington Post, which obtained the report.
The report comes from a nonpartisan group of researchers called PropOrNot, which describes itself as ‘concerned American citizens’ with expertise in computer science, national security and public policy.
Researchers say they traced the origins of posts and mapped the connections among accounts that delivered similar messages.
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said his social media platform is working on stronger detection, third party verification and easy reporting to prevent bogus stories from swarming the popular social media site
The findings show just how effective the bogus reports and propaganda were, according to the report.
On Facebook, PropOrNot estimates that stories planted or promoted by the disinformation campaign were viewed 213 million times.
While it’s not clear whether fake news and propaganda helped sway the election in Trump’s favor, millions of Americans get their news from what’s shared on Facebook and other social media.
In recent months, fake and misleading stories have proliferated, even as Facebook has insisted that they make up a tiny fraction of the overall stuff users share on the site.
Both Facebook and Google have said they are taking steps to stop the spread of misinformation on their sites, including by turning off access to advertising.
PropOrNot’s report, provided to The Post in advance of its public release, identified more than 200 websites as ‘peddlers of Russian propaganda during the election season, with combined audiences of at least 15 million Americans’.