Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Snopes' Field Guide to Fake News Sites and Hoax Purveyors

I'm not giving examples of fake news items, because research has shown that when this is done, many people will remember the debunked "news" but not remember that it is false.

It boggles my mind that so many people on Facebook will take seriously obviously satirical items.

http://www.snopes.com/2016/01/14/fake-news-sites/

Kim LaCapria
Jan 14, 2016

The sharp increase in popularity of social media networks (primarily Facebook) has created a predatory secondary market among online publishers seeking to profitably exploit the large reach of those networks and their huge customer bases by spreading fake news and outlandish rumors. Competition for social media’s large supply of willing eyeballs is fierce, and a number of frequent offenders regularly fabricate salacious and attention-grabbing tales simply to drive traffic (and revenue) to their sites.



Facebook has worked at limiting the reach of hoax-purveying sites in their customers’ news feeds, inhibiting (but not eradicating) the spread of fake news stories. Hoaxes and fake news are often little more than annoyances to unsuspecting readers; but sometimes circulating stories negatively affect businesses or localities by spreading false, disruptive claims that are widely believed.

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No list of shameless misinformation would be complete without a mention of National Report (and its omnipresent former lead writer, Paul Horner), as the site is (or was) perhaps the most prominent example of its genre.

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National Report (and its “satirical” brethren) have sustained huge losses of traffic in the wake of Facebook’s algorithm changes intended to limit the reach of fake news. In response, sites have been established that spoof the domain names of legitimate news outlets such as the Washington Post and USA Today which mirror the National Report‘s content in order to more efficiently dupe readers and work around Facebook’s restrictions.

(The ubiquitous Paul Horner has since moved on to the equally fake News Examiner site, continuing to offer fictitious stories)

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Straddling the line of fake news and the occasional seed of truth is World News Daily Report. By cobbling together misattributed stolen photographs (and often using extant, long-circulating rumors), World News Daily Report has published several viral claims often preying upon readers’ religious beliefs,

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While National Report and World News Daily Report often take advantage of politically, socially, or religiously divisive issues to drive outrage-based traffic, Huzlers employs a markedly different approach to fake news hoaxes, often invoking the names of popular brands and restaurants in its quest to snare readers with gross-out stories.

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Empire News (spun off from what was initially a sports-related fake news site) is another outlet responsible for the propagation of fabricated claims that spread on sites like Facebook.

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Fake news sites often play to users’ existing beliefs to spread their claims, but Stuppid (a site that truly lives up to its name) is less focused in its contribution to the avalanche of fakery on the Internet. Efforts by Stuppid largely encompass morally offensive fabrications,

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Paul Horner, the prolifically puerile online troll and ubiquitous fake news character (he inserts his name into all his articles) whose work previously appeared on the National Report fake news site, has since started the News Examiner. The News Examiner skirts Facebook’s crackdown on fake news sites by mixing real news and listicle items in with its fake news reports, but the site neither identifies its fake news items as “satire” nor carries a disclaimer to that effect.

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Newswatch28 is a relative newcomer to the fake news world, bursting onto the scene in late April 2015 with a site that simulates a TV news web site and likewise skirts Facebook’s crackdown on fake news by mixing real news articles in with its completely made-up stories.

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The Naha Daily appears to be defunct, but during that site’s brief lifespan from September 2014 to January 2015 it published several fake news pieces that continue to pop up regularly on social media and web sites

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The Stately Harold shouldn’t be fooling anyone, given the deliberate misspelling in its name,

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NewsBuzzDaily is pretty low-rent for a fake news site: it doesn’t display a logo or masthead on its pages, and it mainly traffics in lame, made-up, exclamation point-driven celebrity gossip items

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Now8News burst onto the fake news scene in mid-2015, racking up an impressive number of successful social media hoaxes despite the barely plausible premise upon which most were based

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A fairly new entrant to the fake news round-up in early 2016, The Reporterz started a popular hoax

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Another 2016 contender on the fake news scene was Empire Herald,

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The name Satira Tribune clued many readers in to this web site's intent, and its tagline ("satirical news for satirical folks") certainly drove the point home to those who scrolled down to the bottom of the page.

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Associated Media Coverage was yet another fresh face on the fake news scene in early 2016.

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While the myriad sites referenced here represent only a small sample of the overall “satire” nuisance on social media, many widely-dispersed fake news claims have originated with them. All of the above-mentioned sites exist solely to spread false information; and none can be trusted as legitimate sources, no matter how compelling their claims might be.

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