The journalism field has been waking up to the reality of fakery. Fake news - stories with little or no basis in fact - can quickly acquire a life of their own on the Internet, probably for the same deeply human reason that motorists slow down to gawk at a car wreck.
What's escaped notice, until very recently, is who's footing the bill. It turns out that ads for major, well-known brands frequently appear alongside fake news items. It's a reflection of the complexity of online advertising. "Multiple middlemen are often involved, leaving both publishers and advertisers uncertain about which ads will appear where." Courtesy The Wall Street Journal.