Fake Facebook news writer: Trump won ‘because of me’

Paul Horner, the internet satirist and writer who specializes in fake news on Facebook, told The Washington Post in a wide-ranging interview that he believes that Donald Trump was elected president "because of me."

"My sites were picked up by Trump supporters all the time. I think Trump is in the White House because of me," the 38-year-old Horner said. "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."

Donald Trump's son Eric and his then-campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, tweeted links to one of Horner's fake news articles in March.

“His supporters were under the belief that people were getting paid to protest at their rallies, and that’s just insane,” Horner told the Post. “I’ve gone to Trump protests — trust me, no one needs to get paid to protest Trump. I just wanted to make fun of that insane belief, but it took off. They actually believed it.”

Horner contends that people “are definitely dumber” and take what they see on the internet at face value.

“They just keep passing stuff around. Nobody fact-checks anything anymore — I mean, that’s how Trump got elected,” Horner told the Post. “He just said whatever he wanted, and people believed everything, and when the things he said turned out not to be true, people didn’t care because they’d already accepted it. It’s real scary. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

The Post cited several examples of Horner's fake stories, including pieces about the Amish lobbygay wedding vans and a ban of the national anthem.  He also published a story that went viral last year about a Yelp vs. "South Park" lawsuit. That was fake, too. Horner said he never believed that he'd be taken seriously, thinking that people would fact-check his stories.

“I mean that’s how this always works: Someone posts something I write, then they find out it’s false, then they look like idiots,” Horner told the Post.

“But Trump supporters — they just keep running with it. They never fact-check anything. Now he’s in the White House. Looking back, instead of hurting the campaign, I think I helped it. And that feels (bad).”