JOVAN got a pair of Nike sneakers and went on holidays to Greece, his reward for having helped turn the small Macedonian town of Veles into an 'epicentre' of "fake news" during the 2016 US presidential race.

"This is what the so-called fakenews sites bought me," said the 20-year old who did not want to reveal his last name.

"I was earning about 200 euros [$230 ] a month ........Only a few earn this kind of money, " he told  AFP  in Veles, home to around 50,000  people.

Once a thriving industrial hub, Veles  has suffered decline since break-up of former Yugoslavia and, like the rest of the country, now grapples with rampant youth unemployment and mass migration.

But two years ago, a new source of income unexpectedly opened up when investors offered money to locals for producing news stories  in support of  Donald Trump  who was campaigning  to become the  45th  president of the  United States.

Hundreds of websites and Facebook pages started to to come out of Veles servers with the sole aim of tarnishing Trump's Democrat opponent Like  Hillary Clinton or his predecessor Barrack Obama.

The sites many of which have disappeared, distributed articles about Clinton's alleged racist remarks on Beyonce or fake statements, in which she allegedly praises Trump's honesty.

Jovan, a student at the Veles's Faculty of  Technology, was recruited in 2016 by one of the dozens of local investors  in a clickbait race.

His work consisted of  of  retrieving articles  published mainly on  right wing US websites, such as   Fox News or Breitbart  News,  and  then  'adapting them, changing them a little, putting in a  catchy title," Jovan says "doesn't know" if it contributed  Trump's  victory, adding :

"I don't care".

The honor and serving of this latest Global Operational Research on  Elections and  Fake News  continues to part 2.


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