Detailed analysis of the hyper-partisan Facebook "news" business

Buzzfeed presents a long (and somewhat rambling) data-driven look at the recent history and current state of Facebook's hyper-partisan news (AKA "fake news") bubble, tracing the money, growth areas, declines and personalities behind what's possibly the cause or the effect (or both) of today's political chaos.

Some important takeaways: there's one 20 year old Macedonian dude who's a major player in the right wing-o-sphere; "liberal" sites are growing like crazy (attributed to the presence of a unifying enemy, which the right lacks); some of the guys getting rich are playing both sides of the street with both right-wing and left-wing sites; Facebook's limits on sleazy ads and outright lies are crippling some of the right wing players; the biggest players often have more than one site, feeding each other traffic and links.

Documents obtained by BuzzFeed News give a sense of the income being earned by writers even before the 2016 US election presumably delivered massive increases in traffic and ad revenue. The documents list the revenue earned in three different months in 2014 and 2015 and provide a look at the money paid to writers for the group of sites run by Matthew Hanson and Daniel Gouldman of Addicting Info in 2014 and 2015.

Writers were paid based on a share of the advertising income earned from the articles they wrote. A single article page would have several ad units on it, and one ad would be linked to a Google AdSense account to pay writers. At the end of each month's pay cycle, writers would receive a payout based on the number of impressions and clicks earned for the ads on their stories. Publishers like Hanson and Gouldman took home the rest of the revenue earned from ads on the page.

The documents obtained by BuzzFeed News list the revenue earned in three different months in 2014 and 2015.

In December 2014, according to one document, an article published on resulted in a payout for the writer of $20,026.63. That was the highest monthly payout contained in the documents.

Inside The Partisan Fight For Your News Feed
[Craig Silverman, Jane Lytvynenko, Lam Thuy Vo and Jeremy Singer-Vine/Buzzfeed]

(via Waxy)