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A Comedian Is Getting Tons Of Facebook Shares For His Fake News Articles

"Most of the people that share it do not read it," says the the hoaxster.

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This fake story about a woman dropping a deuce on her boss's desk after she won the lottery has been shared like crazy on Facebook:

“I’ve been putting up with that guy’s shit for years, it’s time he put up with some of mine," the woman is quoted as saying in the hoax.The story is from the The Valley Report, a website that mostly publishes satirical articles. It occasionally puts out a fake news stories like this one in order to drive traffic and revenue, according to its owner, a comedian who goes by the name Dave Weasel.
The Valley Report / Via thevalleyreport.com

“I’ve been putting up with that guy’s shit for years, it’s time he put up with some of mine," the woman is quoted as saying in the hoax.

The story is from the The Valley Report, a website that mostly publishes satirical articles. It occasionally puts out a fake news stories like this one in order to drive traffic and revenue, according to its owner, a comedian who goes by the name Dave Weasel.

Weasel, a Canadian living in Los Angeles, said the story is one of the site's biggest hits since it launched in August. His initial plan for Valley News was to publish satirical articles that offer an element of social commentary. But then he tried his first hoax and it instantly went viral on Facebook.

Dave Weasel / Via Facebook: daveweasel

His first hit was a fake news story about a woman who stabbed her boyfriend in the face because he took longer than 10 minutes to like her selfie. "That one just took off, getting hits and shares from all over the place," Weasel said.

"It’s kind of annoying because I really do enjoy doing the ones that offer some kind of social commentary," Weasel said.But the social reach and traffic for fake news is too appealing, he said. Weasel said the fake stuff helps him earn thousands of dollars per month from ads. (Another viral hoax hit on his site was, "Woman arrested for stinking up bathroom and closing down restaurant.")This is happening in spite of Facebook's attempt in early 2015 to stamp out fake news on its platform. A recent BuzzFeed News analysis found that, after suffering a decline in early 2015, the top nine hoax news sites today "enjoy widespread reach on Facebook."Weasel is an example that newcomers can also generate significant engagement on Facebook — and even build a small business — thanks to fake news.
The Valley Report / Via thevalleyreport.com

"It’s kind of annoying because I really do enjoy doing the ones that offer some kind of social commentary," Weasel said.

But the social reach and traffic for fake news is too appealing, he said. Weasel said the fake stuff helps him earn thousands of dollars per month from ads. (Another viral hoax hit on his site was, "Woman arrested for stinking up bathroom and closing down restaurant.")

This is happening in spite of Facebook's attempt in early 2015 to stamp out fake news on its platform. A recent BuzzFeed News analysis found that, after suffering a decline in early 2015, the top nine hoax news sites today "enjoy widespread reach on Facebook."

Weasel is an example that newcomers can also generate significant engagement on Facebook — and even build a small business — thanks to fake news.

Weasel estimates that a third of the tens of thousands of people who shared the defecating lottery winner story thought it was true. "Most of the people that share it do not read it," he said.

In fact, it was so popular that one of the internet's top fake news sites, Empire News, did its own version.

Empire News / Via empirenews.net

Weasel says he now plans to invest more time in The Valley News. He also he wants to launch a Canadian-focused site. When asked to share his secret to fake news success on Facebook, he cited a well-known George Carlin line.

"It goes back to a George Carlin quote where he says, 'Women are crazy but men are stupid but women are crazy because men are stupid,'" he said. "And when you follow that for these articles, it’s going to be a hit."Also, anything to do with going to the bathroom," he added.
Dave Weasel / Via Facebook: daveweasel

"It goes back to a George Carlin quote where he says, 'Women are crazy but men are stupid but women are crazy because men are stupid,'" he said. "And when you follow that for these articles, it’s going to be a hit.

"Also, anything to do with going to the bathroom," he added.

Craig Silverman is a media editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Toronto.

Contact Craig Silverman at craig.silverman@buzzfeed.com.

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