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Fake cancer, real friends: what the crowdfunding boom tells us about online trust

For most, donating to a crowdfunder is a way to back a beloved artist, or help a friend with extortionate medical bills. But what happens when things go wrong?

By Penny Andrews  

Crowdfunding is used by everyone from Remainer lawyers to Americans trying to pay medical bills. Photo: Prospect composite

What links Chris Williamson, Tommy Robinson, Jolyon Maugham and the man who threw a milkshake at Nigel Farage? Not Brexit—it’s raising money online.

Once mainly seen when your friend wanted to raise funds to go to Edinburgh fringe, crowdfunding has moved from the creative industries out into the wider world, where it’s being used by people of all political backgrounds, from Americans paying for medical bills to Remainers wanting to fund…

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