Here’s Where Fake News Sites Are Hiring Writers

While fake news may have always been circulating the web, during this election season it became a pretty hot-button issue. Where does it come from? Who is behind it? Turns out, the answers could be right in front of you on a website you visit every day: Amazon. According to Engadget, fake news organisations are using an Amazon feature called Mechanical Turk to attract and recruit writers. While normally a board for "odd jobs," the platform also hosts some pretty fishy characters. One publication called The Goldwater posted a (now deleted) listing that calls for someone to "write a news article for a new conservative news website." That sounds pretty harmless, but then you keep reading. The article that needs writing is titled "Predictable: First Lesbian Bishop of Stockholm Boots Out Christ and Welcomes Mohammed" and the organisation wants voices that sound like Rush Limbaugh, Alex Jones, and Milo Yiannopoulos. "At times, we may give you a conspiracy theory to write about. Roll with it," the post continues. In total, the listing calls for 350 words, which would total about a £5 paycheque for the writer. Just one article isn't (too big of) an issue, but this is part of a scarier trend. One writer believes his fake stories helped Donald Trump win the 2016 election, and Facebook employees even created a task force to help stop this kind of "news" from appearing on the site. "When objectionable HITs are posted, there is a link on the HIT for workers to report it to Amazon, but there is no follow up from Amazon with the worker on what action is taken, if any," Rochelle LaPlante, online labor advocate, told Motherboard. "I reported the HITs last night using that report button, but there's no way for me to know if Amazon saw and removed it before it was completed by workers, or if Amazon has taken any action against the requester's account." In the meantime, be careful what you read.

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