Is Ghana the new world capital of fake news? Perhaps this is said a lot, but a Belgian researcher explained to be a extremely successful fake-newsnetwerk expose. And all the traces lead to Ghana.
On april 17, 2018 died former first lady Barbara Bush. But the day before already – so when she was still alive – did a post about her death all the round on Facebook. ‘That false message took even 2.3 million …
On april 17, 2018 died former first lady Barbara Bush. But the day before already – so when she was still alive – did a post about her death all the round on Facebook. ‘That false message took even 2.3 million likes, shares, and comments, ” says Maarten Schenk, a Belgian software developer who turned out to be fake-newsjager on the website Leadstories.com. That 2.3 million Facebook interactions, which is twice as much as the most popular fake-newsverhalen of 2017, according to Schenk.
The message about Barbara Bush was taken from the website breaking-cnn.com, an imitation of the real CNN website. Grant teamed up with another fake-newsjager, Jeremy Massler. Together they discovered that the makers of the fake message about Barbara Bush is not their rst attempt.
Breaking-cnn.com it appears affiliated to a network of other fake-newssites, often with misleading names like tv-bbc.com and aljazeeranews-tv.com. According to Schenk, it involves an ‘enormous’ network that has existed for at least since the beginning of 2016 is active.
The network appears to be a few simple formulas have been found to successfully fake news to produce. “When a well known person in the hospital, they wait a few days and then send a notice out,” says Schenk. In the case of Barbara Bush, they were as real news, and that was not the first time, also at the death of Charles Manson and Hugh Heffner, they walked ahead of the reality.
But the network had other success recipes. Such as the ‘news’ that people will soon be without a visa from a certain country or a certain region of the United States will be able to travel. Or the message that a celebrity at an airport is arrested with two kg of cocaine.
But who is behind this network? Some of the websites from the network, in particular fox-news24.com and usa-television.com all appeared to be registered by one Agnes Arthur in Accra, Ghana. Agnes Arthur shows in Ghana a lot of websites to be hosting, including a number with fake news. But there are also legitimate websites, such as Jetsanza.com, the website of the Ghanaian reisblogger Akesse Moise Sanza.
Akesse Sanza is in Ghana, not an unknown figure. His Facebook page has 200,000 fans. And on the internet are nieuwsartikels to find which Sanza claims that he is $ 30,000 per week to earn online ads. “With a travel blog, you will earn not so much money, suspect Maarten Schenk.
Evidence Give not, but according to him, points to a number of tracks to Sanza. So is that via Facebook friends with a Ghanaian woman, Glorian Maame Nyarkoh, the fake Barbara Bush-story and other fake-newsberichten on Facebook posted. And Sanza would, according to some posts online, ever admitted that he already had four of the ad network Adsense was removed by Google. What usually indicates some form of abuse.
Fake news or porn sites
Via e-mail denies Sanza any involvement. The claims of Leadstories.com are purely assumptions. They link me to fake news because of media reports about my income. While those websites are, according to my limited research, especially in the Philippines. After there was written that I was $ 30,000 a week earn, already have a lot of people have tried to examine what I do. That they would send me links to fake news is not news. They have also already tried to get me to link to porn sites.’
According to Sanza, he has never claimed that he was constantly so much deserves. “A few weeks earned me an average of $ 30,000, then an article about Jetsanza a debate’ in South Africa.’
Sanza confirms that his websites same IP-address as a number of fake-newssites. ‘But decide I how many websites a hosting company is on the same IP address place?’ About the source of his income remains Sanza vague. “I am particularly concerned with downloadniches for music, I can’t disclose the websites’.
In 2016, it turned out that a lot of fake messages about the Us politics, in the heat of the presidential election, came from Macedonia. But since more than a year of trying, Google and Facebook to the sources of income of fake-newsmakers to cut off. Especially by ensuring that they no more advertising.
“You can see that these sites are now diverting to other ad networks, such as Revcontent and Taboola,” says Schenk. “That means that the advertising revenue is probably lower than ever before.”
And yet you can, according to Maarten Schenk, as a creative amateur currently 1,000 à $ 2,000 per month earn with fake news. An attractive salary if you are in Macedonia or Ghana live. “And there are always individuals who are a massive success. To tens of thousands of dollars per month? According to Schenk, it is not impossible.
In Macedonia the average salary is slightly above the 400 dollars, in Ghana it’s barely $ 100. And they speak better English than in Skopje.
Maarten Schenk is ‘accidentally in the factchecking rolled”, he says. He developed a few years ago, Trendolizer, a website that quickly detects which stories ‘viral’ on the internet. Useful for marketers and journalists, but also for factcheckers. He then started the factchecking site Leadstories.com where he was the topverhalen on Trendolizer under the microscope. To say that he can fake-newsverhalen, thanks Trendolizer, hours faster to detect than known factcheckers as Snopes.com.