On the second floor of a noisy sports centre in the Macedonian town of Veles, a teenage purveyor of fake news cracked open his laptop and laid out his case for why lying is more lucrative than the truth.
Real news gets reported everywhere, he argued. Made-up stories are unique.
“The fake news is the good news,” the 18-year-old said, pointing to a graph showing his audience figures, which reached into the hundreds of thousands, a bling watch clasped firmly around his wrist. “A fake news article is way more opened than any other.”
As US?President Barack Obama, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, journalists and academics argue over the impact of social media-driven propaganda on the latest American election, this sleepy former manufacturing town overlooking the Vardar river in central Macedonia has found itself increasingly drawn into the debate.
BuzzFeed News identified Vales as a hub of the fake news industry seeding sensationalised or falsified …
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