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A Buzzfeed analysis finds that the same Florida company, American News LLC, owns and operates a set of hyper-partisan news sites, including conservative sites like AmericanNews.com and Conservative101.com, and liberal sites like DemocracyReview.com and LiberalSociety.com. Buzzfeed was able to track the sites' owners through their Google AdSense ID's and domain records.

The sites use stock imagery of writers, and often appear to be copying the work of other hyper-partisan blogs. The sites also operate Facebook pages with huge followings that drive monster engagement metrics. Buzzfeed's study finds that these websites use nearly identical content with opposite ideological spins to lure readers to engage with stories, so they can make money off of the traffic.

Why it matters: The findings, which lead to active advertising accounts, affirm other reports that there is a great financial incentive to generate hyper-partisan and often inaccurate news.

Who's to blame? Google and Facebook both run automated advertising platforms that enable just about any website to monetize its content, given that they earn enough traffic to sell ads against. Publishers are learning that one of the fastest ways to generate traffic is to cater to Facebook's emotionally-driven algorithm and Google's keyword algorithm with outrageous, hyper-partisan content. Both companies (Google, Facebook) have taken steps to curb fake news sites from monetizing off of false and misleading content, but it's hard to regulate at scale without violating free speech laws.

Go deeper

53 mins ago - Health

U.S. ahead of pace on vaccines

A health care worker administers a dose of the Moderna vaccine in Ruleville, Mississippi. Photo: Rory Doyle/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The U.S. is now vaccinating an average of 2 million people a day, up from 1.3 million in early February.

Why it matters: That puts us on track to hit President Biden's goal of 100 million doses a month ahead of schedule.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Harris breaks tie as Senate proceeds with lengthy debate on COVID relief bill

Photo: Oliver Contreras/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Senate on Thursday voted 51-50 — with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie — to proceed to debate on President Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus rescue package, likely setting up a final vote this weekend.

The state of play: Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) is forcing the Senate clerk to read the entire 628-page bill on the floor, a procedural move that will likely add 10 hours to the 20 hours already allotted for debate.

4 hours ago - World

Netanyahu campaigns against Biden's plan to save Iran deal

Netanyahu campaigns at a gym last month. Photo: Pool/AFP via Getty

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indirectly criticized the Biden administration for its intention to return to the Iran nuclear deal and told his supporters he was prepared to "stand against the entire world" to stop it.

Why it matters: This is a major change of tune for Netanyahu, who had been careful in his statements on the Iran deal and avoided publicly criticizing President Biden. The statement was part of Netanyahu's attempt to rally his base ahead of Israel's election on March 23.