Macedonian teenagers from Veles have become a global attraction after part of the world’s media claimed that the residents of Veles through their propaganda websites with fake news influenced the US election and helped the Republican candidate for US president, Donald Trump, get into the White House.
Last April, after Meta wrote about five young people from Veles, owners of websites that published propaganda, mostly fake news related to the President-elect Donald Trump, many international media outlets are now reporting this phenomenon and are trying to get in touch with the inventive people of Veles.
A few days before the presidential elections in the US, the world’s influential website Buzzfeed wrote an in-depth analysis and reported that 140 websites owned by residents of Veles published aggressive propaganda in favor of Trump. According to Buzzfeed, Veles, a town with population of 45,000, experienced a digital gold rush.
The owners of these websites who were contacted by Meta, said Veles had been flooded with similar “portals” looking for more clicks and profits. At the time, the five young people from Veles claimed that financial compensation was their strongest motive for registering the websites.
Once Trump won the US presidential election, the residents of Veles became popular across the world, and so for, Yahoo News, Australian ABC News, New York Magazine, International Business Times and the Spanish El Confidencial quoted the text Meta News Agency published in April.
Producers of CBS and ABC, two out of the three largest television networks in the United States, and BBC from United Kingdom, addressed Meta and wanted to contact the resourceful youngsters from Veles.
The people of Veles even got a few minutes on the popular show on CBS The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, who said “Hey, Macedonian teens! Knock it off”.
While Colbert talked about the people of Veles (from 5.15 min), on the screen the Macedonian flag appears.
“You may ask yourself how did we get here. A lot of people think that Donald Trump won because of Facebook, but mostly because Facebook is full of fake news stories that get shared widely without being fact checked. Where are these stories coming from? It turns out that a hundred different sites came from teenagers in one small Macedonian town who were looking to make money online and found the best way to generate shares on Facebook is to publish sensationalist and often false content that caters to Trump supporters. Hey, Macedonian teens! Knock it off! Why can’t you just do normal teenage stuff?” – Said Colbert.
After Trump’s victory in the polls, Meta again contacted the Veles youngsters, who said they did not believe their “portals” had any influence on the outcome of the presidential election and that they do not believe they helped the American billionaire become the 45th President of the United States of America.
Here are some of the media outlets who covered the story: