A quick search on YouTube will yield several videos reporting about the purported arrest order of the Supreme Court and the Office of the Ombudsman against former President Benigno Aquino III.
In the real world, there’s no such thing that happened, but those videos have already accumulated around 500,000 views. That is a testament to how easy it is to promote false content online as long as you can find a receptive audience for it, say for example, supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte.
The proliferation of fake news websites have caused alarm in the past year or so, especially in the wake of Donald Trump’s narrow victory in the November 2016 United States presidential elections.
Having said that, let me share with you why the fight against fake news websites is so personal to me. Many of you are familiar that I’ve been running The Filipino Scribe since 2011. And I’m very proud of all its achievements over the years and its significant readership.
However, one lingering frustration for me is that I am not really able to upgrade it. Ideally, I should already have paid writers and artists by now plus a great website design. Accomplishing that won’t be cheap.
As any news website owner will tell you, running one is costly. You have to pay an annual fee for hosting and domain registration, and that alone costs TFS roughly $400. You may also have to spend considerably on developing the site’s design. If you have writers, then you will also have to pay for them.
And how exactly do bloggers get their money back? Mainly through revenues from Google Adsense and direct advertisers. And to be honest, most bloggers have a full-time job and very few among us are able to live fully on blogging alone.
Now here comes all these fake news websites that are bankrolled by moneyed political interests! They seem to have unlimited funds to promote their articles on social media and develop their website.
See how it goes? A lot of bloggers who write legitimate content toil just to pay for domain and hosting renewals while those who post false articles have unlimited money from shady financiers! That is why the presence of these fake news websites is a big insult to us who’ve been here for many years.