As Facebook and now Google face scrutiny for promoting fake news stories, Melissa Zimdars, a communication and media professor from Merrimack College in Massachusetts, has compiled a handy list of websites you should think twice about trusting. “Below is a list of fake, false, regularly misleading, and otherwise questionable ‘news’ organizations that are commonly shared on Facebook and other social media sites,” Zimdars explains. “Many of these websites rely on ‘outrage’ by using distorted headlines and decontextualized or dubious information in order to generate likes, shares, and profits.” (Click here to see the list.)
Be warned: Zimdars’s list is expansive in scope, and stretches beyond the bootleg sites (many of them headquartered in Macedonia) that write fake news for the sole reason of selling advertisements. Right-wing sources and conspiracy theorists like Breitbart and Infowars appear alongside pure (but often misinterpreted) satire like the Onion and The New Yorker’s Borowitz Report. “Not all of these sources are always or inherently problematic, but I’m including them because they should be considered in conjunction with other news/info sources due to their tendency to rely on clickbait headlines,” Zimdars notes. You should read it closely, feel free to disagree, and, in the spirit of media literacy, do your own research.
She also includes some helpful tips for spotting fake news:
• Watch out if known/reputable news sites are not also reporting on the story. Sometimes lack of coverage is the result of corporate media bias and other factors, but there should typically be more than one source reporting on a topic or event.
• Odd domain names generally equal odd and rarely truthful news. […]
• If the story makes you REALLY ANGRY it’s probably a good idea to keep reading about the topic via other sources to make sure the story you read wasn’t purposefully trying to make you angry (with potentially misleading or false information) in order to generate shares and ad revenue.
All sound advice before you fuel the fire further and share a bogus story about a tryst between Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin or announce that Donald Trump won the popular vote. Read the entire list here.