Fake news kingpin released from custody

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Niks Endzins, arrested for dissemination of fake news through several online portals, has been released from custody, State Police representative Gita Gzibovska confirmed.

Endzins has been in custody since late August. He has been released because the the time for which he could be held in custody expired. He has now been put under police supervision and is banned from leaving the country.

As reported, the State Police's Cyber Crime Unit in July opened a criminal case after several companies and public institutions complained about fake news being circulated online with the purpose to disturb the peace, the State Police reported.

The Cyber Crime Unit was able to trace the fake news to at least seven online portals where they were originally published: tv-play.lv, neticams.net, redzams.lv, redzams.net, kasjauns.net, parvisu.net, and atklats.com. The portals were maintained by several persons who shared the fake news with users of different social networks, prompting people to visit the websites where the fake news stories were published.

The fake news stories dealt with all kinds of disasters, traffic accidents and suchlike, for instance, collapsing shopping malls, falling planes, major car crashes, with the goal of luring as many visitors as possible to the websites. The persons running the websites were paid by online advertisers for each visitor to their websites, the police said.

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