Information Technology & Content

Content Farms - Today everyone goes overseas if it costs less. ‘Server farms’ can be installed anywhere in the world, and now the same thing is happening with ‘content farms’. They can be found in the Philippines, Pakistan, Georgia, Croatia, India and Macedonia providing information (sometimes false) on almost everything. This article noted that a US-based site on Native Americans has closed, yet thenativepeoples runs out of Kosovo and has more than 500,000 fans, and IndigenousPeopleOfAmericans has more than 1 million fans. The sites welcomenative and usnewtoday are run by the same person in Vietnam. For more information checkout ExploitingTheNicheA recent BuzzFeed News analysis of partisan political news websites and Facebook pages revealed that a page run by a 20-year-old in Macedonia outperformed many of the biggest conservative news Facebook pages run by Americans. BuzzFeed News also found publishers in Kosovo and Georgia that publish (often fake) news crafted for American conservatives. A whole range of health-oriented sites targeting Americans are run out of Pakistan, and others are run out of Macedonia. One example was of an American ‘liberal troll’ who produced fake news ‘to expose the ignorance of American conservatives’. But then found that his fake content was being copied and re-used as ‘true' news by a multitude of sites all over the world.

The idea to create content that people will share on social networks is not in itself a bad thing. The sharing of that content will bring traffic back to the original publisher so that it can be monetised with AsSense banners, etc. And some perfectly honest publishers are also using cheap labour around the world to produce content. 

But one specific feature of this problem is ‘click baiting, which is the use of eye-catching headlines, or stories clipped from other sites (plagiarism), or fake information (sometimes presented as satire), to attract visitors and sell advertising. This can be accompanied by ‘spambots’ targeting specific communities on sites such as facebook and designed to promote the ‘click baiting’ sites. © Bernard Smith 2017