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Fake news = bank $$ (Here's How)

Discussion in 'BlackHat Lounge' started by tckc, Dec 6, 2016.

  1. tckc

    tckc Newbie

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    NPR's Planet Money podcast just released a story about how a semi-washed up writer created a fake news mini-empire and raked in $30k/mo.

    He created several realistic looking news sites, like "The Denver Guardian" and "WashingtonPost.com.co" and made them look real by adding local news/weather/sports/etc.

    He eventually grew to around 25 writers and incorporated his business as "Disinfo Media." His stories were getting up to a million shares on FB for posts like "Hillary Clinton Is a Murderer" & "Muslim Nurses Won't Wash Hands Before Surgery." All of the stuff was completely made up - even the names of cities.

    In reality, he's just a liberal who wanted to prank a few people but it grew into a serious business. One of his "news outlets" just got banned from FB and Adsense has dropped him, but as he said, there are tons of other ad networks.
     
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  2. 0adam0

    0adam0 Newbie

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    Interesting that the machine learning tools that the outlets deploy dont flag this kind of thing.

    Would be really interesting to see the stats of how many of these fake news outlets transition into op-eds and legit news.
     
  3. tckc

    tckc Newbie

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    For sure. The podcast played a clip of fox news reporting one of this guy's stories. "Colorado lets people use food stamps for medicinal weed"

    So it definitely happens.

    I think fb will start cracking down on fake news because it has gotten so much criticism for it lately. I would guess that they might implement some kind of "ID verification" policy for the domain name. But many other social media sites are relatively untouched by fake news, so far. There is still a lot of ways to take advantage of this until everyone starts cracking down.
     
  4. BassTrackerBoats

    BassTrackerBoats Super Moderator Staff Member Moderator Jr. VIP

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    FB announced a few weeks ago that they were cracking down on fake news sites.

    I'm sure they will slow the tide but won't be able to eliminate it by any means as I have ads running that go to one of my fake news sites that they approved.
     
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    Last edited: Dec 6, 2016
  5. Capo Dei Capi

    Capo Dei Capi BANNED BANNED

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    The crackdown seems to more about "censoring" things they don't like rather than going after fake news. Many times CNN,NPR,CBS,ABC run fake news stories, I doubt that FB will deny those companies from getting ads on their platform.
     
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    Last edited: Dec 6, 2016
  6. tckc

    tckc Newbie

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    Do you use any other social media for spreading your fake news? Any thoughts on good ones to use?

    I don't plan to try this because its not my area of interest - but I do think its really smart. I'd go gaga if you have any stats to share. :rolleyes:
     
  7. BassTrackerBoats

    BassTrackerBoats Super Moderator Staff Member Moderator Jr. VIP

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    No, I do not; I'm really not much of a social media guy actually. I just play in the FB sandbox and primarily share in groups but and advertise using Lookalike Audiences. The fake news works real well with the lookalike audiences as news junkies soak up as much as they can.

    I have just started something in reddit but it is way too soon to see if it is going to be anything of value in terms of revenue.
     
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  8. Reaver

    Reaver Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    The more I read about this, the more I want to do it.
     
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  9. BassTrackerBoats

    BassTrackerBoats Super Moderator Staff Member Moderator Jr. VIP

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    You would kill it and, to be honest, it is a fun little deal.
     
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  10. Reaver

    Reaver Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Haha I need to start jotting down ideas and looking for a domain name.

    I just told one of my friends this looks like a ton of fun to do. So do you outsource your writing BTB? Or do you do it yourself?
     
  11. MrBeastsOnToast

    MrBeastsOnToast Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    You guys not worried about lawsuits and stuff?

    Are there any obvious lines not to cross without needing full offshore bulletproof hosting? I have a method i might use to get initial viral traffic. But it would piss ALOT of celebrities off.

    Can i just put a disclaimer or some shit "This is totally fake, only an idiot would beleive it".
     
  12. BassTrackerBoats

    BassTrackerBoats Super Moderator Staff Member Moderator Jr. VIP

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    I write one story a day... takes me 15 minutes to do generally.

    I read a lot of news sites anyway and ideas come easily and then I just open dragon, use Google for images and post and share using massplanner.
     
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  13. MrBeastsOnToast

    MrBeastsOnToast Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    How are you monitizing?
     
  14. BassTrackerBoats

    BassTrackerBoats Super Moderator Staff Member Moderator Jr. VIP

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    I generally stay away from litigious types when I write; I do have a legit news site I own and write for and all that is legit which centers on one aspect of news.

    For the fake stuff there is no disclaimer or anything.

    Example:

    Possible Merge with The USA and Mexico After New President is Inaugurated?


    There seems to have been some talk behind closed doors about a merger between the USA and Mexico in order to cut out the cost of the wall and stop immigration issues from the South. These secretive talks that have been denied and no commented on a dozen times are coming from some of our very best sources though and, even though there is bidding from almost a dozen contractors for "The Wall", that project could be nixed should the countries agree on a merger.

    Some of the main talking points seem to be whether the official language should be English, Spanish or some combination of the two as well as having to come up with numerous new zip codes to accommodate Mexico as they use an entirely different postal system.

    Texas, Arizona and New Mexico officials appear to be directly involved in the talks due to the proximity of those States and Mexico with New Mexico concerned they would have to rename the State.

    =================

    I could go on but you'll see no actual statement of fact and a fair amount of hyperbole which people on FB eat up.

    You can't use Adsense on a fake news site because if you get caught you lose the account so your monetization methods should tie into the story you are writing.

    Generally CPA offers.
     
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  15. Capo Dei Capi

    Capo Dei Capi BANNED BANNED

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    As long as its not slander the best place to host is in the States.
     
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  16. tckc

    tckc Newbie

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    I'm falling over right now. This is so ridiculous, but you do such a good job of making it believable.

    Another point that the guy made was that he tried to make up stories on both sides of the aisle, but that the "liberal" ones almost always got immediately debunked. The "conservative" ones seemed to be the most long lasting.

    Not trying to make a political statement here, just curious if that has also been your experience. I would have thought liberals just as likely to fall for it.
     
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  17. MisterF

    MisterF Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    It surprises me when I share anything from Newsthump , Onion or those types of sites how people kick off ranting & screaming on Facebook, as they believe it's a real headline.
     
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  18. BassTrackerBoats

    BassTrackerBoats Super Moderator Staff Member Moderator Jr. VIP

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    That is the marketing aspect of it; I post the conservative ones in the liberal FB groups and the liberal ones in the conservative FB groups to get them riled up. They both do fairly well if you slant it to annoy them a little bit.

    That story I could slant towards the conservatives pretty easily had I continued on (it took me all of about 5 minutes to make that up) and made it sound like the incoming administration was bailing on one of their main talking points or gone the liberal way and talked about a certain percentage of Americans would be forced to move and the incoming administration was looking at votes to see who voted against them.

    You play on the emotional aspect and get their blood pressure up if you are writing a political faux story to drive traffic and you make the site look like a legit news site. There are a handful of WP themes you can use if you are a WP guy.

    Any news site I go to is annoying as all get out about their advertising so I'm a little annoying as well to get conversions. I use pop ups, content lockers, redirect them when they use the back button and even gather emails from people that go to the sites.
     
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  19. tckc

    tckc Newbie

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    I love it. The world is healthier when there is a little chaos spread around here and there.

    Okay, one last question. (probably.) ....how common do you think fake news is? When I look through my feed, how likely is it that I am seeing something that is totally made up?

    I appreciate your openness to discuss this. I think it is fascinating that there are "regular" people (not big corporations) doing it.
     
  20. BassTrackerBoats

    BassTrackerBoats Super Moderator Staff Member Moderator Jr. VIP

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    I admin around 30 groups and I see some of that creep in but it is usually "Tragic Accident Kills 14 in Local Barbershop" or some such thing. Extremely easy to spot and it gets reported fairly quickly by the members that take that seriously. I prefer stories that are over the top that I can twist to make believable; they are much more fun to write and I get busted a lot less than that type of story.

    I don't see a ton of it but there is some floating around so I don't think it is all that common but I'm probably a poor test case as I don't spend much time on FB except to market.

    Here is a link I found about some guys that are/were doing this fairly successfully - https://www.buzzfeed.com/craigsilverman/how-macedonia-became-a-global-hub-for-pro-trump-misinfo
     
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