Paul Horner says he made more than $10,000 month writing fake news on Facebook that was widely shared by Trump supporters and picked up by the real press — for example, hoax stories about protesters being paid to turn out against Trump — and that he targeted Trump supporters as an act of "satire" to show that they would credulously share anything, providing that it confirmed their conspiracy theories about the left and the Democratic party.
He credits himself with getting Trump elected, and says that he regrets Facebook's fake news ban because it lumps "satirists" like him with "total BS sites" like Huzlers who operate with "no creativity or purpose," unlike Horner, whose satire has "purpose and meaning behind it. I don't just write fake news just to write it."
However, Horner is confident that he can evade the Facebook and Google Adsense bans by changing online identities.
Q: Is that it? You posted on Facebook a couple weeks ago that you had a lot of ideas for satirizing Clinton and other figures, but that "no joke . . . in doing this for six years, the people who clicked ads the most, like it's the cure for cancer, is right-wing Republicans." That makes it sound like you've found targeting conservatives is more profitable.
A. Yeah, it is. They don't fact-check.
Q. But a Trump presidency is good for you from a business perspective, right?
A. It's great for anybody who does anything with satire — there's nothing you can't write about now that people won't believe. I can write the craziest thing about Trump, and people will believe it. I wrote a lot of crazy anti-Muslim stuff — like about Trump wanting to put badges on Muslims, or not allowing them in the airport, or making them stand in their own line — and people went along with it!
Facebook fake-news writer: 'I think Donald Trump is in the White House because of me'
[Caitlin Dewey/Washington Post]