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Dublin: 15°C Thursday 17 June 2021

Your evening longread: Meet the godfather of fake news - and the factchecker

It’s a coronavirus-free zone as we bring you an interesting longread each evening to take your mind off the news.

Image: Shutterstock/FGC

EVERY WEEK, WE bring you a round-up of the best longreads of the past seven days in Sitdown Sunday.

For the next few weeks, we’ll be bringing you an evening longread to enjoy. With the news cycle dominated by the coronavirus situation, we know it can be hard to take your mind off what’s happening.

So we want to bring you an interesting read every weekday evening to help transport you somewhere else.

We’ll be keeping an eye on new longreads and digging back into the archives for some classics.

The godfather of fake news

How does someone get involved in writing fake news? Here’s a look at how one man in the US started writing fake stories – what initially drove him, and why he does it still. It also introduces us to a Belgian factchecker who does his best to flag fake stories online so that readers aren’t taken in.

(BBC, approx 18 mins reading time)

He loved to write and found that he had a flair for making words come alive. He began a blog, the first of many. He found it liberating being able to say what he wanted – arguing in favour of a range of positions on the left-hand side of American politics. But although it was fun and a few people started reading, blogging didn’t pay. And so he tried another tactic. He began to write fabricated tales that looked like real news headlines. Streams of consciousness flowed from his head to the keyboard. When he saw the results online, the hundreds and thousands of likes and shares his posts were getting, he felt validated. Far more people were interested in fake news than Blair’s opinions or true stories.

Read all of the Evening Longreads here>

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