You've already heard about the Russian troll farms, but have you heard of the Macedonian troll farms?
Unlike the Russian troll farms which were created specifically to lobby for one particular candidate (Trump) and other political causes and movements around the world, the Macedonian troll farms were created for purely financial reasons according to Buzzfeed News.
As right wing media here in the U.S. learned long ago, making up wild stories about President Obama and the Clintons is very lucrative, but the likes of Breitbart are facing competition from these teenagers in another country who couldn't care less about our politics.
Buzzfeed identified over 140 pro-Trump websites based in one small town in Macedonia and spoke to some of the kids who run them.
The young Macedonians who run these sites say they don’t care about Donald Trump. They are responding to straightforward economic incentives: As Facebook regularly reveals in earnings reports, a US Facebook user is worth about four times a user outside the US. The fraction-of-a-penny-per-click of US display advertising — a declining market for American publishers — goes a long way in Veles. Several teens and young men who run these sites told BuzzFeed News that they learned the best way to generate traffic is to get their politics stories to spread on Facebook — and the best way to generate shares on Facebook is to publish sensationalist and often false content that caters to Trump supporters. [...]
“I started the site for a easy way to make money,” said a 17-year-old who runs a site with four other people. “In Macedonia the economy is very weak and teenagers are not allowed to work, so we need to find creative ways to make some money. I’m a musician but I can’t afford music gear. Here in Macedonia the revenue from a small site is enough to afford many things.”
Not surprisingly, the content posted at these websites is virtually all false but, you know, so is most of the content published at sites like Drudge and Breitbart.
It seems like a problem that even people in other countries are financially incentivized to join the conservative entertainment complex and sell loads of horseshit to gullible, hateful Americans. The idea that the boom and bust cycle of election year media coverage could become a global industry is worrying, to say the least. There is no incentive for this emerging industry to get the story right and every incentive to publish insane bullshit for more clicks.
So much of our own media, including cable news channels, is already centered around peddling election cycle clickbait. We don't need help in that department.