Real News About Fake News

Well, color me embarrassed! I thought that “Fake News” was like Hillary claiming that she landed under hostile fire in Bosnia. I found out today it’s not. Well, I mean the Bosnia story was indeed fake news, but it’s not the fake news from the modern fake news industry. Here’s the short version:

What is behind and driving the fake news industry, and it is indeed an industry, is … Google.

Who knew? The company whose motto was “Do No Evil” is behind the fake news industry. Here’s how it works.

In a variety of impoverished Eastern European villages with names like Moldalloveriou, nobody’s got any money. Kids don’t take a lawn-mower around the neighborhood to see if lawns need mowed. Not happening, no money, no lawn mowers, no lawns. Instead they go fishing.

Where they go fishing is Facebook. What they use to bait their hooks is the “clickbait”, the fake news. And over time, they’ve found out what the best clickbait is—stories revealing horrific secrets about public figures. You know the kind, I’m sure.

Imelda Marcos Involved in Necrophilic Love Triangle!

They make up or modify and rewrite news stories and change the headlines until they say things like “Lord Burberry Admits Hillary Sold Weapons to ISIS”. They put the fake news up on their own very legitimate-looking website, often made to resemble a real news site.

hillary-clinton-alien-baby

Then, they toss a link to their blog, with the headline and the accompanying photo, into the normal shark feeding frenzy of any one of dozens and dozens of single-interest groups on Facebook. Groups advocating this. Groups opposing that. Political groups. Racial groups. Ethnic groups. It’s free, it’s easy—make up a Facebook persona, join heaps of groups, make up some clickbait, and start fishing. And if you’re not catching, just change the bait or change the fishing hole. There’s an infinite supply of fake headlines, and thousands of Facebook groups.

So … how does Google fit into this? Well, Google has something called “Ad Sense”. I could sign this blog up tomorrow for Google Ad Sense if I wanted. Not happening.

If I signed up, Google would use its index of my site and all of the comments, and with them it figures out what kind of ads would interest such a peculiar mixture of miscreants and outlaws as comment here. I don’t even know what that would be, ads for a gun that shoots flowers but only at bad people or something. Then, every time my blog loads, it also loads a targeted ad. The deal is that anyone who clicks on an ad on my site, the advertiser pays Google some small money, and me less.

So the poor teenagers in Mustrolloveria sign up with Ad Sense, gin up some clickbait, and pretty soon the money is rolling in. Not a lot of money, to be sure, kids in my neighborhood would sniff and pick up their iPhones … but for teenagers living in Nowhereyouwannastan, likely still at home and contributing to the family economy, it’s big bucks.

Knowing the real problem makes the solution easy. Google needs some new rules. Google Ad Sense already has restrictions on who can get ads. You know, the places they will put ads are restricted, no porn, no racist screeds, no ladies of the evening, no fake news, no revenge sites, no … wait, back up, what?

True. Google already has the rules in its agreements to end fake news sites from getting Ad Sense. All they need to do is to enforce them … but on the other hand, the money coming in from the news factories in Dontunderstan is so nice … plus Google is providing needed employment in a generally economically depressed part of the globe, so that’s not evil … plus it’s valuable foreign currency coming into their country, which every country needs to survive and is also not evil … and the local government of course gets to tax the import of foreign currency, they get their share. Plus it has to be changed from gringobucks into doubloonies or whatever the local currency is, and the bank takes a cut for that. So clearly, far from doing evil, this is the benificent Google providing for individual citizens, governments, and banks in distressed economic situations, and that’s double-plus un-evil … so no reason to cut off those fake news sites …

I have no idea how to pressure Google into fixing this, but fix it they must, and no one else can. Facebook has been talking about trying to stem the tide, but they’re working at the wrong end. It’s the money that drives it. Cut that off and the fake news industry is gone.

Wouldn’t I love to borrow the Donald’s Trumpaphone, call up Sergei Brin, and say “Sergei, my friend,” …

Ah, well, as my daughter says, “In your dreams, dad” … however I will ask if anyone can tweet or send this to someone at Google. It seems like with all their AI experience they could detect a pattern of this kind of fake news fishing and write something to notify them to dry it up.

Plus which it’s win-win for Google. They created the problem, and made a stack of money off of it, and now they earn the world’s thanks for getting rid of the problem … what’s not to like?

Best regards and best of life to you all,

w.

PS—PLEASE QUOTE THE WORDS YOU DISAGREE WITH. It avoids misunderstandings.

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21 thoughts on “Real News About Fake News

  1. “I have no idea how to pressure Google into fixing this, but fix it they must” You did had an idea – “Wouldn’t I love to borrow the Donald’s Trumpaphone, call up Sergei Brin, and say Sergei, my friend …” You would use the bully pulpit of the presidency to indirectly censor speech with which you disagree.
    You’ll just have to discipline yourself to resist click in those *You won’t Believe what Imelda Marcos does in the Cemetery!* links.
    I don’t like liars in any field. But I would rather have the opportunity to prove them wrong in law or debate than risk the muzzle of authority.
    If Brin et al wish to restrict the use of their service that is a business decision. One that apparently, they have already made.

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    • Censor speech? Say what? I am asking that Google not reward fake news. This is not an issue of free speech or censorship. Nobody has a constitutional or a moral right to be approved for Google Adsense. They can spread all the fake news they want for free, nothing stopping them. I just want to stop the money paying for fake news.

      Next, you say I want to censor speech “with which I disagree” … it’s nothing to do with “disagree”. It is FAKE, as in not true, as in specifically designed to appeal to people’s worst emotions purely for money.

      As to having the opportunity to “prove them wrong in law or debate them”, we’re talking teenagers all over the world, pouring a torrent of totally bogus news into Facebook day after day. “Prove them wrong”? You are aware that they know it’s not true, right?

      And if you do prove one article is wrong, they just make up something new that same afternoon.

      And finally, “debate them”? Debate an entire village worth of TEENAGE SCAMMERS? I’d pay good money to see that “debate” …

      Please, reread what I wrote. It appears that you did not understand the dimensions of the problem.

      In friendship,

      w.

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  2. In UK our top line snowflake news(?) channel Channel 4 News went to one of those villages a few days back…and in HD (wow). A question was put to a lad in a street about it…he denied it. Shortly into the interview the lad said he knew something about it. This wasn’t Facebook scamming..it was cloned websites that looked the real thing.

    Having run a small web business in UK I have been hit by the Nigerian crooks…oh here, look, you have 1.5Million bucks available in the Chase Manhatten…and such like. Some have fallen for it. I have often reported websites in Europe to the related abuse@ link and am mildly surprised at the non response. Shouldn’t be really! Also reported to the prime web hosts in UK who have a report form as long as your arm and who state that they will not acknowledge. Google I imagine is well up its own..ar*e. Paypal often sends a thank you…and thats it?

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    • Ex-expat Colin December 16, 2016 at 2:09 am

      This wasn’t Facebook scamming..it was cloned websites that looked the real thing.

      Thanks, Colin. That’s part of the Facebook scamming just as I described it, the real-appearing websites with Google Adsense ads scattered throughout …

      w.

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      • Willis…I’m sure AdBlocker stops that game pretty good. Some sites block me like the snowflake media often does because their cookie detects the AB. Good…cos, they can simply Foxtrot Oscar. If you like the Ads though…well, you know?

        Friend of mine had a small bushiness I built 3 websites for…he insisted on using AdSense to the tune of about $1000 a month…house improvement stuff. Is a very small business 8 years on.

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  3. its simple
    STOP
    USING
    GOOGLE!!
    but the kids n less bright sheeple wont
    its already imprinted
    Ixquicks good though some print ads have snuck in
    at least theyre Marked as ads
    and duckduckgo is ok

    the about pages..if they have one ,
    if they dont its a big hint..
    or the host /creator at the bottom are worth looking at for many.
    if I find one i reckons odd i go see who n where else it appears.
    if it keeps going round to one or two then its dodgy

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  4. I was roundly crapped on by people when I pointed out the “fake news” adverts on farcebook pages, brietbart, drudge, cnn, fox, hell, all news site pages. Now it is a big deal and everyone is decrying it. Oh, well.

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  5. I’ve been trying to teach my kids to ignore the ads. It is so challenging. Most of the time I don’t even notice them. But my kids,… if they’re looking over my shoulder while I’m surfing they’re always, “What’s that?”and pointing to some ad. I’ve had to explain over and over that stuff down the side is usually just ads and ignore those. Content is usually in the middle, but even now on legit websites they place ads in the middle of the articles.

    As to the click bait, it’s a matter of teaching people to think!

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  6. I wonder how many people with a Google account even know there are deep layers of settings available for ad controll and privacy. 5% maybe? You will have to dig for it, but it is there. Virtually anyone with an Android device has a Google account and an ad profile among other things.

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  7. When I was a child I lived in Dontunderstan. But curiosity was my passport out of there. Occasionally I get a postcard from the old country, but I don’t regret the leaving at all and wish my fellow country-folk would look beyond the borders.

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  8. I must be getting old; I always thought “fake news” was the National Enquirer. I wonder what else I’m missing by having every possible Ad blocker active on my browser?

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    • Actually, National Enquirer has broken quite a few major news stories over the years. The majority of their crap is crap and they don’t really hide that it is crap. From time to time they do break real news.

      Like

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