back to top

An Old Hoax Is Going Viral Again Thanks To Macedonian Pro-Trump Sites And Facebook Pages

Yep. The Macedonians are still at it.

Posted on

A fake news story has come back from the dead thanks to pro-Trump websites and Facebook pages that are run from Macedonia.

Seattle Tribune

On Jan. 4, a fake news site called The Seattle Tribune published a hoax claiming a truck had collided with six anti-Trump protesters. Although the story was quickly debunked by Snopes and others, it still racked up close to 170,000 shares, reactions, and comments on Facebook.

Now, the hoax is picking up speed again thanks to websites and Facebook pages with links to Macedonia, which BuzzFeed News has previously shown is home to a large cluster of pro-Trump sites that often publish false information.

The three websites that recently published the hoax have similar designs and all simply copied and pasted the text from The Seattle Tribune.

BuzzFeed

As of writing, the version of the hoax from USPoliticsLeader.com has generated close to 50,000 shares, reactions, and comments on Facebook. The version from DailyUSAUpdate.com has close to 20,000 Facebook engagements, and the hoax from OpenMagazines.com has less than 700 engagements. All were published on Feb. 6.

In addition to those three sites, the hoax was published back in January by USADailyInfo.com, which also has connections to Macedonia and to the aforementioned three sites via their related Facebook pages.

Two of the three websites — OpenMagazines.com and USPoliticsLeader.com — share IP addresses with news sites that have owners in Macedonia.

DomainTools

The third site, DailyUSAUpdate.com, is connected to a Facebook page that also shared the hoax story from one of the above sites. In fact, the Facebook pages connected to these three sites often share content from each other.

As an example, the version of the hoax from USPoliticsLeader.com was posted to the Facebook pages of Daily Info Box, The American People, USA Daily Politics, USA Online Magazine, and Conservative Club. These are all connected to sites with owners in Macedonia.

Conservative Club is the page associated with OpenMagazines.com, and the USA Daily Politics page is connected to DailyUSAUpdate.com.

The pages linked to Macedonia collectively have more than 1.5 million fans and were responsible for driving significant engagement to the hoaxes.

Jane Lytvynenko is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Toronto, Canada. PGP fingerprint: A088 89E6 2500 AD3C 8081 BAFB 23BA 21F3 81E0 101C.

Contact Jane Lytvynenko at jane.lytvynenko@buzzfeed.com.

Craig Silverman is Media Editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Toronto.

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

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.