El Reg discusses a report from Trend Micro, a reputable anti-virus and security firm, about the “Fake News” industry. Here’s a bit (emphasis added because even the fake may be faked):
Cybercriminals produce, market and monetise fake news in underground markets. The scope of a campaign and intended target affect pricing. For example, campaigns aimed to spark street protests are priced at $200,000 while discrediting a journalist would cost $55,000 and creating a fake celebrity (with 300,000 followers) costs a more modest $2,600.
A year-long campaign to influence election outcomes is available for just $400,000, the study says. Whether such listings are in themselves an attempt at disinformation is certainly debatable. US intel agencies, Western politicians and security firms are nigh-on unanimous that attempts to influence the US presidential election last year were the work of the Kremlin. For example, UK defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon recently said the Kremlin is “weaponising misinformation” as part of a sustained campaign that goes beyond alleged meddling in the presidential election.
Follow the link for more.
Also, if you saw a news item on Facebook etc. and nowhere else, be very very skeptical.