Ebola is a scary disease, but not as scary as the stupidity and public panic it can create. That’s why “news” sites like National Report, which reaches millions of people through Facebook, are so infuriating: they make money by fanning hysteria at the time of a crisis.
Here’s a screenshot, for instance, of National Report’s homepage on Monday, four days after a New York doctor was quarantined:
The story is nonsense, of course, but the website is hoping that it will go viral through [company]Facebook[/company] channels, which will in turn let the owners of National Report make money selling ads.
Unfortunately, the tactic is working. As the Verge reported, millions of people saw or shared earlier versions of the National Report’s ebola “reporting,” including a story about a whole town under quarantine in Texas. That piece of “news” was just as false as the New York story above, but it still…
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