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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

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus variant surveillance varies widely by state — Omicron cases confirmed in 5 U.S. states America probably won't lead the effort to understand Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Moderna loses patent battles tied to COVID vaccine.
  3. Politics: Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy — Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate — Omicron travel bans are sign of what's to come.
  4. World: WHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron — COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming — Germany approves new restrictions for unvaccinated people.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Prosecutors charge parents of Michigan school shooting suspect

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The parents of a 15-year-old accused of killing four students and wounding seven other people at a Michigan high school have been charged with involuntary manslaughter, according to court documents.

Driving the news: James and Jennifer Crumbley were each charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter.

3 hours ago - World

Putin to demand legal guarantee against NATO expansion in call with Biden

Biden and Putin meeting in Geneva in June. Photo: Mikhail Metzel\TASS via Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin is demanding a legally binding guarantee that NATO will not expand east — including to Ukraine — and plans to raise the issue in an upcoming phone call with President Biden, according to the Kremlin.

Why it matters: Russia has massed more than 94,000 troops on the border with Ukraine and could be preparing for a large-scale invasion at the end of January, Ukraine's defense minister said Friday.