Supermarkets MUST ban checkout counter tabloids!

From Natasha Lomas at TechCrunch:

Last week Buzzfeed reported on an entire cottage industry of web users in Macedonia generating fake news stories related to Trump vs Clinton in order to inject them into Facebook’s Newsfeed as a way to drive viral views and generate ad revenue from lucrative US eyeballs.

This enterprise has apparently been wildly successful for the teens involved, with some apparently managing to pull in up to $3,000 and $5,000 per month thanks to the power of Facebook’s amplification algorithm.

That’s a pretty hefty economic incentive to game an algorithm. More.

Reality check: For whatever ignorant and narrow reason, some of us believe that we wouldn’t be hearing so much of this stuff if Clinton had won.

But anyway, is fake news an issue? Well, how about this: Generations of North Americans have grown up shopping at supermarkets that put tabloids—you know, Armageddon in 2018!/JFK is alive!/Martians landed!/Clinton dying!—right up at the checkout counter, along with the lip balm, Smarties, and Tylenol.

Why have we all just been trusted all these decades to realize that if any of this stuff were true, there’d be a way bigger uproar?

I fear that the war on fake news sites is just another attempt to get a stranglehold on the internet But if fake sites matter, so should the tabs.

I for one would miss the empty racks formerly occupied by utter-nonsense news. One thing they told me was true: (ah joy, ah bliss!), I was now near the front of the line.

See also: New Yorker: Trump as an American tragedy