Paul Horner, 38, told the Washington Post last year that his websites and fake news articles–many of which went viral and for which he made thousands of dollars–directly helped Trump win in the 2016 presidential election. “Trump is in the White House because of me,” he claimed.
Local authorities in Arizona said there were no signs of foul play and “evidence at the scene suggested this could be an accidental overdose,” according to CBS News.
Horner’s fake news spread across the internet, and his stories were routinely picked up by Trump supporters on Facebook and Twitter. One domain, ABCNews.com.co was designed to trick people into appearing like the network news website.
In his interview with the Post, Horner said his stories proliferated across the internet so quickly because “people are definitely dumber.”
“My sites were picked up by Trump supporters all the time,” he said during the interview. “I think Trump is in the White House because of me. His followers don’t fact-check anything — they’ll post everything, believe anything. His campaign manager posted my story about a protester getting paid $3,500 as fact. Like, I made that up. I posted a fake ad on Craigslist.”
“A lot of the people that like my stuff, they know,” he said. “It’s pretty obvious the stuff I write is very political satire, there’s a lot of humor, a lot of comedy in it.”
Since the election web giants such as Facebook and Google have attempted to crack down on fake news and several other people have tried to develop games that can teach consumers how to spot articles that aren’t true.