Donald Trump became the 45th and oldest-ever elected President of the United States on November 8th but it wasn’t apparently only the US electors who paved his path to the White House but also various false news websites from around the world.
One the multiple Facebook pages owned by Ovidiu Drobota (credit image: facebook/digi24.ro)
said that Facebook’s bogus stories did not affect the outcome of the US elections, but his claims seem to be refuted by a BuzzFeed analysis
showing that numerous fake election news turned viral and spread like wildfire across the world’s most popular social network. And part of the news feed came in from…Romania.
How could someone who barely knew something about Donald Trump a year ago, be able to manipulate the political preferences of the American voters? The simple answer is…via a hoax website!
Ending the Fed (http://endingthefed.com/) is a website disseminating bogus information and created by the Romanian netizen Ovidiu Drobota, a Donald Trump supporter. The site gathers about 3.3 million monthly unique views in the US, according to Quantcast, while its Facebook page earned at least 350,000 likes so far, according to INC.com.
One of the its most viral articles emerged in the summer and reported that Megyn Kelly, a prominent journalist at Fox News – a TV channel having tendency to support the Republican Party-, was fired because she would have backed the Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton. After an internal investigation, Facebook discovered that the news was fake and deleted it.
But “Ending the Fed” continued to publish misleading information. BuzzFeed reveals that the website delivered 4 articles that made it to Facebook’s top ten fake news stories about the US elections.
Another false story served by “Ending The Fed” and widely digested on Facebook, claimed that Pope Francis endorses Donald Trump for Presidency and that news reached out to nearly a million people.
In an interview for Inc.com, 24-year-old Drobota said he was proud to make propaganda in favor of Donald Trump adding that “Ending the Fed” is “one of the “largest websites in the world.”
And the results, even if based on hoax news, prove he is right to some extent. For example, USA Today website has less than 2 million unique visitors per month while L.A. Times receives 3.6 million.
What was the drive behind Drobota’s fierce support for the GOP candidate? “I just liked him!”
“In October 2015 I heard of Donald Trump and I liked him. I thought I could help him win the election using the internet and thus, I created endingthefed.com. I regret posting false news, I deleted them meanwhile, but at the time I did not know they were fake,” said Drobota.
A closer look at the “EndingTheFed.Com” shows that the owner just copy & paste content from other sources, a technique which should normally determine Google take action and blacklist the website for violating its stance over duplicate content and copyright infringement. But that did not happen so far.
Furthermore, it uses search engine’s advertising network “Adsense” for generating revenues. However, that might be possible to change in the near future as both Google and Facebook vowed to ban “fake news websites” from using their ad publishing networks.