During the U.S. Presidential elections, election-related news, real or not, dominated Facebook newsfeeds. But what’s more interesting than that is, even fake stories can generate bundles of cash for the writer behind the post.
During an interview with Washington Post, Paul Horner admitted that he was able to make $10,000 per month from AdSense by writing fake stories.
Guy who writes fake news for Facebook makes $120,000/year
— Mike Baker (@ByMikeBaker) November 17, 2016
Publishers who agree to display ads from Google AdSense on their websites received about 68% of the total revenue.
Just for comparison, an average journalist makes around $46,000 per year. If you add up Horne’s income per month, it totals up to $120,000 a year just by writing fake news.
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) November 17, 2016
Horner is responsible for a variety of fake news stories including the viral article about the lawsuit between Yelp and the TV show “South Park.” Yelp eventually confirmed that the story was fake.
He also wrote about a piece reporting that the Amish are giving their votes to Trump which was posted on Twitter by Trump’s son Eric and his campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. Horner revealed that the story is also fake.
This concerns a lot of internet users who rely on social media outlets to keep up with the latest news. Facebook already explicitly said that they will raise their standards and ban sites that are deemed responsible for spreading fake news. Google also said that they will prevent posting their ads on sites that “misrepresent, misstate, or conceal information about the publisher, the publisher’s content, or the primary purpose.”
With the increasing risk of his business being shut down, Horner said that he is not worried, Market Watch reported.
“I know ways of getting hooked up under different names and sites. So probably if they cracked down, I would try different things. I have at least 10 sites right now. If they crack down on a couple, I’ll just use others,” Horner said.