Alexandre Lagayette is a political consultant who publishes Truth Checker Russia, a service that combines Wikipedia and fact-checking. He runs the online extension factcheck.js and the namesake website in collaboration with Fact Checker America. He runs his day job as a social media strategist for the NRCC and started Sputnik-Mr. Fixit, which publishes fake news or "alternative facts."
"Digital Distortion Dogs," Business Insider
In the era of fake news, the spread of misinformation through social media has grown. It’s gone mainstream. The man who started Al Jazeera in Qatar to cover wars was named CEO of Facebook just last year.
But the publishing of fake news is no longer confined to unashamed propagandists or far-right trolls. Now it seems to be a type of enterprise used by internet powerhouses, like Facebook, Twitter and Google, to influence politics.
"Paid Content Syndicates," WSJ
Fake news has proliferated like never before and in an age where consumers are hungry for online information and want their favorite publishers to keep their audiences, this is a new business model for what used to be a grassroots operation.
According to the New York Times, the average hyperpartisan story on a right-leaning website attracts readers based on that article’s clickbait headlines as well as its website’s Facebook page. By linking to every story on a website, Google and Facebook are helping to drive traffic in and out of these websites.
Meanwhile, reader traffic to left-leaning sites using this practice is sometimes solid, but more often not.
Now the social media companies have an incentive to funnel the traffic of politically partisan outlets to their most popular properties. This includes driving high-engagement stories to a higher number of users, hoping to stay popular.
"Resonance Press," China, News.com.au
Like much of Chinese culture, the language is revered. Misinformed reports by Chinese media on such issues as the US-China trade war, which the government controls, spread like wildfire on the internet and not only increased its reported volume but also its image and popularity among people, experts in the art say.
The product is now for sale and one of its key promoters, a company called Resonance Press, is positioned as a reputation management service, helping to attract web and phone users to promoted and republished stories online.
To achieve success with the service, it uses a phone app to poll users, even though that content violates ethical guidelines by employing a means of collecting personal information from users.
"Tarnished Brands," BBC
Another instance is the flourishing of writers (known as "fake news writers") who produce content for internet platforms that is then branded as credible. But the network of internet marketers, lawyers and advertising agencies (called adtech) that support this kind of activity can employ almost any means of deception, including innuendo, assertion, deception and negative emotion (such as sympathy, which may attract response from other people).
In fact, the United States government and intelligence agencies have even been taking action to try to combat this prolific form of propaganda.
One product that vendors are incorporating into their programs for the American market is Influencer Communications & Technology Inc’s (IC&T) OptiMedia systems.
"Potential customer target audiences range from community centers to churches, media outlets, schools, associations, charities, and even politicians," says IC&T’s CEO, Mark Vigoda. "Initiatives launched on social media receive media coverage around the world, which takes the issue to another level."
"LEAKER & ROGUE" The Daily Caller
As seen above, there are multiple entities trading on the claims of companies touting fake news. One is a Russian government-backed company called Rainbow, where the justification for the service is shown as a way to “stand up to the threats that the Trump administration is providing to the internet and Internet freedom,” says senior editor Neatopressers.
Another entity is Pink Sands, based in Chicago, Illinois, with offices in Moscow, and an “editorial office” in Russia, who offers their services to clients including the "media, information, and media advocacy industries, as well as government agencies and businesses," according to a brochure on the service.