In - Brief
Fake news is monetised through traffic, but the way it is monetised depends on the type/nature of the fake news it is. For instance, some fake news posts are published to deliberately misinform, while others use click bait content/headlines to draw attention and encourage visitors to click. Both give the publishers easier access to a larger audience/traffic which they monetise through increased ad revenue.
Specific to click bait fake news, it is monetised the same way real news is, just faster. The bulk of making money from fake news involves utilising site clicks for cash through advertising. Publishers make money by placing ads on their site, they get paid when someone clicks on their ad.
The objective of the ad-driven revenue is to increase the number of views that a website gets. The more the views, the more people see and click the adverts, the more money earned. It is why fake news publishers create hype around their website through exaggerated/catchy/false stories, which in turn drives people to their website to look at the ads that have been set up.
The business model of fake news thrives on the demand for it. For example, In 2017, President Muhammadu Buhari took a medical trip to London on his Doctor’s orders - leaving his deputy, Yemi Osinbajo to steer the affairs of the country. A few weeks into his trip, Nigerians were basked with fake news of Buhari’s death. Numerous Nigerian news outlets scooped out the information without investigation to increase their website traffic, gathering views that lead to ad revenues.
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