Fake journalism and trading

It happens almost every day, even with adds blocker you have articles about how you can easily earn a lot of money from home. I usually ignore those articles, but today while I was surfing, one of them did catch my attention because there was the name of my town in it.

dordogne

Translated it means : a housewife at Saint Antoine la villageoise sur Dordogne (no that town doesn’t exist) earns 8,350€ per month and you won’t believe how !

First of all, I hate this kind of title because it sounds like the viral sh*t you have on Facebook like : “this father jumps from a cliff while holding a bike, but when you will discover why he did this, you will burst into tears !”.

Then the name of the town, the content displayed on the page depends on some parameters, in that case the location of the visiter. This parameter is passed through the url in that case and therefore can be easily modified (that’s why the title says Saint Antoine la villageoise sur Dordogne, I modified it).

The name of the town is used in order to catch the attention of the reader ( and it worked on me), because you know that it is something that is happening right next you, maybe that you neighbor is earning thousands of euros per month without moving out of his couch.

The title is not the only thing interesting I found in this article, let’s analyse some others aspects that can be found in it, and then I will give my opinion about this kind of “journalism”.

Fake comments

This method is used by a lot of websites in order to show you that other people also agree with what is written and proposed. So you think that you can trust the article … unless the comments are fake.

It is not always easy to see on a page if comments are fake, with this example there are two big mistakes :

  1. There is no “post a comment” form, so you can’t leave a message, how can there be comments if you can’t post any ?
  2. The dates : the article was officially posted 2 hours ago (this text is usually not dynamic, meaning that whenever you see this article, it will say 2 hours ago so that you think that it is fresh). You can check this by looking a the first picture of this article. But one of the comment was posted 5 hours ago :comments

By the way the comment says, “I subscribed thanks to this article two days ago”. So let’s sum up, a comment posted 5 hours ago on an article that is only 2 hours old says that she saw this article 2 days before … makes no sense.

Pictures

An other thing that is funny to do is to look for the pictures on Google Image (you can insert a picture in your search or if you’re using chrome directly right click on the picture and select Search on Google Image).

This feature is extremely useful, you can discover where the picture is used on Internet and sometimes find the original.

pictures.png

In the article, the women says that she bought a brand new Ferrari as you can see on the picture. However the blond girl is not “Dominique” but Paris Hilton as you can see here from an other angle near her car (source :  link, I never thought that I would share a link to a website like this one day …).

The second image is supposed to be the director of a trading company, I haven’t found any trace of this “Jean-Marc Auriol”. But the picture was used on an other website in a comment where the man has an other name and says that he is happy to have more lifes on candy crush.

Conclusion

So in this article we saw how to spot “fake journalism” by looking at the comments and the pictures. This is something really easy that anyone with a computer can do.

But even with a lot of mistakes and inconscientes, we still tend to trust it. Why so ? Because it is neat and well designed. That’s pretty sad, nowadays I feel like most of the people will trust content on Internet because it is well presented. The fact that fake articles (for example those that are written for humorist purposes) are being widely shared on our social medias is a proof that we lack critical look.

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