political, their only allegiance is to making money. each click of an ad on their site means cash in their pocket. >> basically the past three months i made my parent's whole life salary. >> reporter: at first they blogged about cars, liberal politics. they say none of it got traction online. until they struck internet gold. >> you write trump, the whole people are trying to read something that hillary make like some bad things, like e-mail scandal, wikileaks. you start writing and people start opening the posts and read about it. start resharing. >> people from the states are watching your website, clicking on the banners, and you're making the money. it was like overnight. >> is it overstating it to say echo chamber that supported it had an impact on the election?
>> i think it's impossible to know what the impact is of this stuff. but there's no question that when, for example, we looked at the top 20 fake news stories about the election and compared them to the top 20 election stories from 19 major media outlets, the fake news ones got more engagement on cebook. >> reporte two days after trump's victory, facebook founder mark zuckerberg dismissed the notion that the social network had an impact. >> the idea that fake news influenced the election in any way i think is a pretty crazy idea. >> reporter: but a recent pew poll found 62% of american adults get news on social media, with facebook leading the pack by far. nearly two-thirds of its users getting news from the site. it's a fact these young entrepreneurs were banking on. >> see how many people are opening the posts, like six people, three people in a minute. facebook, social traffic, like 90% of the traffic is from facebook. >> facebook drives the traffic that helps them make money.
>> reporter: the guys in macedonia are quick to argue that their sites are not fake news. >> first, i don't agree that the sites are fake. maybe some of them have fake stories. but not a lot. >> reporter: but some go further. >> the only copy-paste for mainstream media? >> yeah, but i'm changing everything in sight. >> you need to have a good headline for your story to be successful. >> a headline you made yourself? >> yeah. >> can you show us a headline? >> boom, rush reveals michelle's perverted past after she dumps on trump. this is the headline. >> what was the original headline? >> rush reveals michelle's past. >> reporter: but those sites they're lifting from, not exactly pulitzer prize-winning. >> this is the site west posts, >> western journalism? >> yes. conservative tribute, this is the federal paper. >> it's really easy to make
something up. the amount of effort, actually, to create something that gets a huge amount of attention on facebook and can earn thousands and thousands of dollars, is minimal. >> reporter: but after scoffing at the notion that fake news on facebook had an impact, zuckerberg now seems to recognize there might be a problem writing, the bottom line is we take misinformation seriously, we take this responsibility seriously. we've made significant progress but there is more work to be done. >> facebook is the platform where this stuff is taking off and going viral. and if facebook simply walks away and washes its hands of the whole woe. >> reporter: but the biggest game changer could lie in eliminating the profit motive. >> basically, i have my bank account connected to my google adsense account. and the payments are sent to my bank account. so in a way we are working for google. >> one of the guys we talked to said google would take 70%, he'd get 30%. >> google is making money off fake news, a huge network
adsense, you can put adsensee. google is the 800-pound gorilla when it comes to onlineing. >> reporter: in a statement google telling us as of early last week, they now prohibit google ads from being placed on misrepresentative content, adding, moving forward we will restrict ad serving on pages that misrepresent, misstate, or conceal information." while many of those sites were a sweet spot for cash, marco chicon says for him it was never about money. >> the number of hits in terms of advertising, i may have had $200 on the site. >> what were you thinking when you posted some of these articles? >> the only way i could think of to have conversation with these people was to say, if you got a piece of crazy fake news, i got one too. and it's even crazier, it's absurd. >> reporter: absurd pieces. like dr. ben carson's call for a grain reserve under the washington monument. or obama ordering isis to take out trump. all, of course, false.
why put what could potentially be misconstrued as true out there? because lot of people would say you poisoned the well. >> they might say that. this is a parody. there's real news, abc.co that looks like abc, designed to look real. >> yet people ate it up as if it were true. >> this is a site meant to look like abc news. it's run by a guy in arizona named paul horner, who considers himself i think a hoax artist. the crazy thing about this o ofd trump's kids and his campaign manager, kellyanne conway, both shared at least one story from this fake site during the campaign. >> reporter: he showed me some of his stories online. >> this is a made-up conversation. it's meant to be funny. the byline here is "max insider." >> reporter: separating fact from fiction is not easy when mistrust of mainstream media is at an all-time high. >> when the president-elect will say the only reason hillary clinton has won the popular vote
is because of millions voting illegally, which is completely not true, i think that gives license to folks to be loose with the truth and for people to make things up. >> reporter: when our social media feed, designed to mirror our own opinions, only confirming our biases. so when you give a customer what they want? >> they end up drowning in exactly what they to the exclusion of anything else. a mother reported an ducted and weeks, found alive. the hunt for her captors. from leaving me at a higher risk of stroke. that'd be devastating. i took warfarin for over 15 years until i learned more about once-daily xarelto... a latest generation blood thinner. then i made the switch. xarelto® significantly lowers the risk of stroke in people with afib not caused by a heart valve problem. it has similar effectiveness to warfarin. warfarin interferes with vitamin k and at least six blood clotting factors. xarelto® is selective targeting one critical factor
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persons case. a devoted mother of two supermom out for a j only to vanish. police searches yield nothing results for weeks till finally thanksgiving day she is found. but the inves the mystery only deepens. here's abc's kayna whitworth. >> reporter: tonight in northern california the mystery continues to swirl around sherri papini, wife and mother of two found thursday morning after missing for more than ree weeks. >> chp is advised she is heavily battered and it is a confirmedn. the 34-year-old woman describing two hispanic women, telling authoritie theyanun and driving dark-colored suv. >> she's chained with a quarter-inch heavy chain and hose clamps on her wrist. >> she could have been abductors. >> reporter: the shasta county
sheriff's office is leading the investigation and delving into her past. >> do you believe mrs. papini's story? >> absolutely. >> reporter: tonight we're learning authorities will interview her again to see if she can offer any more clues to help them close the case. >> we do want her to feel at peace and being able to provide us with additional information. >> the whole idea is to traumat comfortable as possible. because this is not an interrogation. this is really sort of a therapeutic interview to get to a lot of details that could potentially help them solve this case. >> reporter: it was dark just like this when sherry papini told authorities her captors dropped her off there behind me, 150 miles from her home on thanksgiving day. authorities say she was bound with restraints but was able to flag down a passing driver. other drivers were calling 911. >> i saw a woman come out of nowhere. frantically waving what looked like a shirt up and down. >> reporter: alison sutton was
driving down this dark yolo county road when she says she passed papini and called 911. >> she pretty much just came out of nowhere. it startled me. but i figured, you know, if somebody was desperate enough for help that they were willing to be so close to traffic that they might get hit, that they really needed help. >> reporter: at the time, sutton didn't know who the woman was. >> i do feel like i got to be a witness to a small miracle. >> reporter: papini was treated and released from a local hospital and reunited with husband keith. it's unknown if she's seen her children yet. authorities say when they first interviewed her, papin. was terrified and offered few details about her captors. >> two women apparently dropped her off. but it's unclear what their role might be. >> reporter: papine, described by her family as supermom, vanished november 2nd after going out for a run. her husband keith called 911 wh work to
an empty house. >> i'm coming, honey. i'm trying. i'm doing everything i can. and i love you. >> reporter: pleading for his wife's safreturn. bring her home.me. just bring her home. >> reporter: keith instantly began his desperate search using the find my iphone app. he located sherri's cell phone on the side of the road. strands of her hear tangled in her earbuds. keith passing a polygraph test, ruling him out early as a suspect. >> it wasn't a feeling like of relief. i just want my wife back. >> reporter: authorities examining all angles including if papini had left on her own, some askout like a scene from the movie "gone girl"? >> to fake a convincing murder you have to have discipline. >> reporter: her family offered a any information. investigators are analyzing papini's restraints and clothing
for dna evidence and sifting through surveillance data including camera footage and cell phone records. the shasta county sheriff's office is looking into papini's past, her former marriage and divorce, and her online activity. >> have you spoken with her ex-husband? >> i have investigators have. >> what him? >> since it's an ongoing investigating, i can't share that information. >> reporter: this alleged abduction comes after two prominent cases of women who were found dead this summer while out running alone. 27-year-old vanessa marcot in princeton, massachusetts. a week prior, karina vetrano of queens, new york. >> if you're a woman, just don't go run alone. you need to pairs or more be woa group. >> reporter: after three weeks missing, it's unknown when papini will get back to her normal life. >> it takes a long time, typically, for people who have been traumatized to this extent,
and it's not going to happen overnight. >> reporter: for "nightline," i'm kayna whitworth in redding, california. next, why the tsa instagram account ranked higher than the answer may take your shoes off. ♪ (laughs..) here it is. ♪ ♪ hey dad! ♪ wishes do come true. the lincoln wish list sales event is on. get exceptional offers on the lincoln family of luxury vehicles. sign and drive off in a new 2017 lincoln mkc with zero down and a complimentary first not to be focusingo finaon my moderatepe. to severe chronic plaque psoriasis. so i made a decision to talk to my dermatologist about humira.
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finally tonight, the tsa may not sob popular at the airport. but on instagram? that's another story. ♪ ♪ >> beyon may have more than 89 million instagram followers. but according to "rolling stone" magazine there's a hot new in users falling into formation. tsa ranked "rol list of 100 best instagram accounts between queen bey and rihanna. tsa advising passeers with witty posts on what you can and cannot bring on board. from a knife tucked in an enchilada, to a set of spears made famouspy the teenage mutant
ninja turtles, making it clear even action figure weapons won't fly. jimmy kimmel -- >> if you have a battery, leave it at home with your mother. >> reporter: tsa inviting travelers to ask if their sometimes unusual items are safe for travel. one user asking, can we carry on that began of gefilte fish? a serious agency finding a little humor goes a long way. especially when you're waiting in endless lines. of course, some things are worth the wait. thanks for watching abc news. as always, we're online at abcnews.com and our "nightline" facebook page. good night, amer >> all this week, we've got some big stars playing for some big money.
and they're giving it all to charity. from our new home at bally's, las vegas, it's celebrity week on "who wants to be a millionaire." [cheers and applause] [dramatic music] ♪ >> hey, everybody, welcome to the show. are you guys lucky. you are here for a great week. it's celebrity week: las vegas on "who wants to be a millionaire." [cheers and applause] we're kicking it off in style. today's celebrity contestant is an emmy award winning chef, author, and owner of one of the best new restaurants right here in las vegas. ladies and gentlemen, give it up. my new neighbor giada de laurentiis. [cheers and applause] hello. [cheers and applause] >> thanks. [cheers and applause] yeah. >> don't get nervous yet. you just walked out here. >> it's nerve-racking to be here. >> my new neighbor. >> i know, right?
>> yeah, you're over at the cromwell, this great little boutique hotel. >> yes. just across the street. >> i ate dinner there last night 'cause i felt like i needed to do research. [laughter] and so i ate everything at your restaurant. you need to shop today, because... >> yes, i was there. >> there's nothing left. >> i know exactly what you ate. [laughter] >> it's amazing what can go in this body. but congratulations, because it was spectacular. >> aww. >> that has to be a labor of love to--i mean, it takes a lot of guts and bravery to open up a restaurant on the strip, but it's phenomenal. >> it's my very first restaurant anywhere. and it is a big restaurant. it has about 250 seats.. it has about 250 seats. it's at the cromwell, which is a very small hotel for the strip. i think the food is quite phenomenal. and i know you like the wine. >> i second, third, fourth, and fifth that. >> yeah, okay. >> yeah, i heard the wine was good too. >> yeah, i'm sure you did. >> [laughs] >> i'm sure you did. >> okay, serioiously, what's moe nerve-racking: opening up your own restaurant, running a kitchen in a major restaurant or walking out here on the stage of "millionaire"?
>> walking out here. [laughter] you know, i have a hard time thinking clearly when i'm not doing anything with my hands. so i actually asked the producers if i could have a little cutting board i could chop vegetables or chop something while i read the questions and try to answer. >> so if that's what i see you doing today, now i know what you're doing. >> yeah, so if i'm going like this while i'm thinking, you know what's happening. [laughter] >> and you are playing this game for a very good cause today, so all week, celebrities are coming in, they're playing for their charities of choice. what is yours? >> alex's lemonade stand. it is something-- >> great cause. yeah. [cheers and applause] >> yeah, it's--it's a foundation that helps childhood cancer.a child who started a lemonade stand to help raise money for her own cancer. she later lost the battle, and her parents started alex's lemonade stand. and i feel like being a parent, you want to help children, so it's really quite fantastic, and i'm excited to be here. [cheers and applause] >> well, let's-- >> and very nervous. >> l let's donate $1 million to 'em today. we'll get 'em $1 million. >> with any luck.
>> you're gonna do great, but let me tell you what you're up against today. >> okay. >> 14 questions, the money values growing from $500 all the way up to $1 million. [cheers and applause] >> i like to see that giada's bank is zero. >> that's the last time you'll see zero under your name today. i promise. >> okay. >> [laughs] >> okay. >> every question you answer correctly gets you one step closer to to that top prize. remember, you can walk away at any time with the money you've earned up to that point. if you give me an incorrect answer, you will walk away with nothing until you get to those two thresholds: $5,000, then again at $50,000. also you have your three lifelines to help you out. audience--they're behind you. they can help you with one question. "50/50," i'll take away two incorrect answers, and you have a "plus one," which you have to tell me about. who's with you today? >> julie is my plus one. >> hey, julie. [cheers and applause] >> i spend a lot of time with julie. >> it's really good to have you. giada, good to have you. are you ready to go? >> i'm ready. >> good luck. >> i'm ready. i'm ready. >> let's do this.
let's play "who wants to be a millionaire." [dramatic musical flourish] ♪ all right. it all starts with your $500 question. here it is. celebrating his 35th birthday in 2015, mcgruff the crime dog has long urged people to do which of the following? >> it's the first question. [laughter] [feigning sobs] >> don't break into tears yet, because you do have lifelines if you get stuck. >> i know, but i should be able to answer the first question by myself. >> [laughs] that was our hope. >> "birthday in 2015"... so i'm gonna go with "a," take a bite out of crime. that is my final answer. >> [sighs]
we got to $500. >> [squeals] hallelujah. [cheers and applause] you know what? it's really hard to stand up here and do that. i feel like i'm sweating just-- i know it looks obvious, but when you're standing up here under the lights and all these people are staring at you, it's so nerve-racking. >> remember, chopping tomatoes. you're chopping tomatoes. >> i know. >> all right, $500. >> yes. >> let's move on to $1,000. they get easier as you go. >> yeah. >> thanks to the national binge-watching craze, over 1/3 of all north american web traffic during peak evening hours stems from what site? >> "web traffic during peak hours." web traffic. okay. i'm gonna go with "a." and that is my final answer. >> you're right. [cheers and applause] $1,000. all right.