By: Nick Gambino
You know how you have certain friends on Facebook who like to share articles from sites that are less than reputable? The kind of site that has a headline like “Donald Trump Wins Popular Vote!” with absolutely no truth to back up the headline.
Well, it seems that this is not relegated to just a few nuts sharing on Facebook. On Monday Google erroneously offered up one of these sites as the top news search stories when typing in “Final Election Results.”
The site, 70news.WordPress.com, carried the headline “FINAL ELECTION 2016 NUMBERS: TRUMP WON BOTH POPULAR (62.9 M – 62.2 M) AND ELECTORAL COLLEGE…HEYCHANGE.ORG, SCRAP YOUR LOONY PEITION NOW!”
Other than winning the gold medal for most obnoxious title ever the article is also completely fabricated.
Whether you’re a Trump supporter, Hillary Supporter, Gary Johnson supporter, Big Bird or whoever, you’ve more than likely heard that Hillary is currently winning the popular vote. The results are still being tallied but as of this writing Clinton has 61,391,139 votes and Trump has 60,612,280.
“In this case we clearly didn’t get it right, but we are continually working to improve our algorithms,” Google declared in a statement.
So how did this happen? How did this type of flagrant misinformation end up at the top of the top internet search engine? The Washington Post did a pretty good job of tracing the story from 70 News back to its source.
It seems the inability of some people on Facebook to actually read the articles they’re sharing has a lot to do with the bogus content showing up at the top of the popular search engine. This article along with numerous others with headlines like “Your Prayers Have Been Answered” topping a story about Hillary being indicted in 2017 for her e-mail crimes, generate a large number of shares and clicks making them “popular.”
BuzzFeed conducted its own investigation into where these articles and their host sites are being generated. It seems sites like WorldPoliticus.com, DonaldTrumpNews.co and USADailyPolitics.com are the work of some young Macedonians in another country entirely.
These opportunists could care less about the outcome of our presidential election. By feeding off the pro-Trump hysteria and anti-Hillary vitriol, these sites are racking up the visits and consequently, money into their Google AdSense account. The irony is certainly laughable.
So next time you’re itching to click the share button, try reading the article first. Don’t just disseminate it because the headline agrees with your view of the world. And if you can’t fight the urge and decide to share it anyway, just be aware that someone is probably playing you for a sucker.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nick Gambino is a regular script writer and tech beat reporter for NewsWatch. He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and daughter.