Fact Check

Did an Ad Offer to Pay for Participation in the Central American Migrant Caravan?

A misleading use of search terms creates amusing and sometimes alarming impressions among internet users.

Published Oct. 26, 2018

An advertisement sought paid participants to take part in the Central American caravan to the U.S.

In late October 2018, social media users shared images that they believed showed proof that Central American migrants traveling with a caravan headed to the U.S. border were being paid by left-wing conspirators:

Nothing suggests the ad seen here was legitimate. For starters, it makes no sense that such an ad would be offered in English to an American audience, unless one believes it plausible that someone in the United States would be inspired to fly to Central America or southern Mexico to meet the caravan, then make the treacherous journey north for "$24-$45/Hr." Furthermore, clicking on the link directed viewers to a job board-type website with links to postings on other job sites for positions such as immigration attorneys, immigration case managers, and security guards -- but not hired caravan participants.

Observant social media users pointed out the website that posted the link, NerdyHire.com, has a track record for popping up in Google searches alongside various keywords with the claim to be hiring for "$24-$45/Hr." These ad include "job postings" for such job classes as "drug cartels," "Jews" and "terrorism." Clicking on these links takes prospective job seekers to a website advertising unrelated jobs. One user reported finding a similar posting for the Ku Klux Clan [sic] while he was looking up a news story:

In fact, searching the term "nerdyhire" via Google takes internet users to a page with various job postings, but the NerdyHire website itself is not hiring for "$24-$45/Hr.":

It appears NerdyHire ads dynamically incorporate search terms entered by users and appear to offer related "$24-$45/Hr." jobs as an advertising come-on.

We reached out to NerdyHire to ask if they were aware that their ads were creating false impressions on the Internet but received no response.


Wootson, Cleve.   "Who is Cesar Altieri Sayoc? What We Know About the Suspected Mail Bomber Arrested in Florida.     The Washington Post.   26 October 2018.

Partlow, Joshua.   "Mexicans Shower the Caravan With Kindness — And Tarps, Tortillas and Medicine."     The Washington Post.   26 October 2018.

Correal, Annie, and Megan Specia.   "The Migrant Caravan: What to Know About the Thousands Traveling North."     The New York Times.   26 October 2018.

Bethania Palma is a journalist from the Los Angeles area who has been working in the news industry since 2006.

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