Whoa — those goons buy their popularity?

I’m gobsmacked. Ben Shapiro is spending $20K per week advertising on Facebook? PragerU, $80K? That’s a big chunk of change.

Two things come to mind. These right-wing figures are “fake news”. They’ve bought a claque, and their popularity is partly a sham.

But also…if you’re wondering why social media sites keep avoiding social responsibility, are being so cagey about not antagonizing fascists, all you have to do is ask who is paying them.


  1. Ridana says

    no one who makes a lot relatively speaking is actually rich. …They have more relatively speaking.

    What does that even mean? Relative to what? Your definition of “rich”? Relative to Bezos?

  2. unclefrogy says

    That is a lot of money. How does that work actually? Does that work as advertising and generate more money then the advertising costs or is it paid for by some other entity who is hidden from sight?
    I understand the parasitic nature of “social media ” in general of using their platforms to generate money from the users and the data about them which they sell. Is this then a case where someone else is using the popularity of social media to promote their own agenda with the appearance of popularity. a parasite of a parasite?
    like the “tea party” appearing to be a grass roots organization when in fact it is mostly top down astroturf.
    this is a little too close to paranoia for saturday morning I need more coffee and something else but I do not know what.
    uncle frogy

  3. robro says

    Always follow the money, as they say. I read recently that FaceBook’s billion dollar fine doesn’t make a serious dent in their bottom line.

  4. robro says

    uncle froggy — Hidden financial resources are certainly a possibility. Some very rich people (Koch bros, Mercers and probably others) funnel donations from their off-shore family foundations into various activist individuals and organizations just to monitor the impact and gather data. Sometimes these donations go to entities with conflicting ideologies or agendas. That seems like dangerously “conspiracy theory” ideations, and perhaps it is, but I’ve read it numerous times in the last several years in credible sources so it’s at least worth keeping an eye on it.

  5. 614local says

    That amount probably isn’t their usual burn rate. My guess is they are ramping up for the election next year. Advertise to expand their market, push usual conservative talking points, and start screaming “Dems are socialists” from the Democratic convention till election day.

  6. says

    I bought 10,000 twitter followers for $45. Nobody should take any social media seriously – it’s all for sale [contact me about my rates]

  7. Reginald Selkirk says

    … all you have to do is ask who is paying them.

    After that, ask what their product is. I’ll tell you: their product is YOU. They sell you to their advertisers.

  8. Golgafrinchan Captain says

    @7, Reginald Selkirk
    I would agree with you in most cases, but I think this is more a case of what unclefroggy is thinking.

    Their product is the message. The ads might offset it, but that’s not the goal. There’s a chunk of right wing groups with young figureheads who are paid to sell conservatism to other young people. In addition to the above, add Turning Points USA, and Dave Rubin.

    I’ll try later to dig up a link of Ana Kasparian of the Young Turks talking about Dave Rubin when he worked there and how he changed his beliefs to increase his payday.

  9. unclefrogy says

    it does appear that the social media corporate are just selling the users and in this case it does not matter who is buying so long as the money is good.
    the propaganda orgs. are buying image and probably traffic as well from the social media corps.
    the question I have is about the money. where is it coming from?
    back in the day one of the worst things you could be was a sell out, these guys today seem to be jumping all over the money gladly selling out everything and everyone to get some

    uncle frogy

  10. says

    @1, Ridana

    Coffin here is talking about socialist YouTubers, colloquially called BreadTubers or LeftTubers. Even the biggest of the biggest channels in that niche maybe make a little over 100k USD a year.

  11. Curt Sampson says

    614local writes, That amount probably isn’t their usual burn rate.

    I’m not sure why you included “probably” there, since the longer-term “burn rate” is clear from that screenshot. You are of course quite correct; in the last 14 months Ben Shaprio has spent less than half a million dollars, for a weekly average of only $8743 (less than $35,000/month)