Writing Fake News About Justin Trudeau Is Very Profitable

2 Canadian teens are cashing in on Internet's apparent thirst for satire about PM
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 14, 2016 12:03 PM CDT
Writing Fake News About Justin Trudeau Is Very Profitable
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks to guests during a speech on his visit to the Calgary Stampede, in Calgary on Friday, July 15, 2016.   (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press via AP)

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is hot stuff. At least, that's what two teens in Canada who'd been looking for ways to make quick money building websites concluded after they started the satire site Hot Global News."This is where it’s at: Justin Trudeau," Yaman Abuibaid, who is 16, tells BuzzFeed. He and friend Daré Adebanjo began to make hundreds of dollars via Google AdSense when they began writing articles with headlines such as, "Justin Trudeau To Build Marijuana Stores In Every City Across Canada." That October 2015 hoax was their first big hit—they made $900 the first day and it's since garnered more than 20,000 likes, shares, and comments on Facebook alone. They say they now make thousands of dollars every month.

Abuibaid admits that a lot of readers think the stories are real, even though their disclaimer states: "HotGlobalNews.com is a satire website, articles/post [sic] on the website are all made-up stories and should not be taken seriously." (Snopes would go on to publish an article explaining that the story is, in fact, fake.) He also admits that their ultimate drive is money, and that the trick to increasing clicks is to give readers what they want, which they say turns out to be stories reinforcing what readers think Trudeau might do. “People are prone to uncritically accepting information they want to believe is true and to share it with others,” an expert tells BuzzFeed. Since the marijuana hoax, the teens have posted around 40 fake articles that range from Trudeau banning Donald Trump from Canada, accidentally kissing President Obama, naming a kitten “Kush,” and giving out marijuana at Halloween. (These viral videos were all hoaxes.)

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