Now that news about fake websites out of Macedonia — which helped some teenagers make up to $3,000 per day, as reported by BuzzFeed — has been credited with helping Donald Trump become the president-elect, as reported by New York Magazine, a list of those fake and real websites is going viral.
Update on Friday, November 18: The list of websites no longer appears in the viral Google Doc as of this writing.
Update on Wednesday, November 16: The list of websites does not include all fake websites that create false stories, but real websites as well that create valid news stories — including satirical sites such as The Onion. The ever-changing and updated list appears to have some websites that have been removed from the original list of 141 websites. As of Wednesday, there were 138 websites on the list — proving that three website names had been removed in one day.
Just like getting un-punished by Google, there must be a method of getting off of the list of fake and real websites. Originally, the list included GlobalResearch.ca on Tuesday, November 15, when the list began to go viral. However, by Wednesday, the words “*Website Removed* (temporarily)” showed up in place of that website’s name on the list. Raw Story was on the original list, but is not on the updated list of publishers. It’s apparent that some kind of kickback from publishers is going on as this list goes viral. An additional reminder was added to the list on Wednesday, which let readers know that not all of the websites listed on the list should be viewed as fake. Numerical codes have been added to the updated version of the list of websites as well.
“And as a reminder, not all of the sources listed below should be considered fake.”
According to BuzzFeed, about a dozen or so Facebook employees are meeting in secret to battle what they claim is the audacity of their boss to deny that false Facebook news stories helped President-elect Trump get elected. Perhaps such a list of fake news sites was born out of such frustration. Either way, it is growing very popular to help people discern truth from falsehoods.
The list of so-called “False, Misleading, Clickbait-y, and Satirical ‘News’ Sources” seems to have been spread on Facebook by sites like EveryLibrary, but it was authored by Melissa Zimdars, according to Business Insider.
The Facebook post and publication linked to a Google Docs document, which has become so popular at times that users who try to click the link receive a message about its popularity, prompting them to try again. The publication explained their reasons behind spreading the list.
“Considering the response to our previous post… something to consider.”
The False, Misleading, Clickbait-y, and Satirical “News” Sources list contains websites that have been deemed questionable — ones that allegedly knowingly pass off potentially false or misleading information as news. The Google Document has received many shares, at least 30,000 shares, according to the below graph from Trendolizer, a website that tracks viral and popular links.
According to Newser, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg claims that Facebook isn’t going to give as much free reign to fake news sites. Google also is prepared to cut down on giving fake news websites an audience by allowing them to buy ads to spread fake news. Zuckerberg is not claiming that fake news websites helped elect Mr. Trump, but reports of the major sites cracking down on the fake sites prove there has been some sort of recognition of a problem.
The websites targeted are ones that have oftentimes created “news” with headlines that are intended to inflame readers and touch their emotions — not satirical and well-known sites like the Onion, which is listed as one of the satire sites on the list.
Not only did the list include 141 websites, as of this writing, that were deemed ones that tended to spread fake news with “clickbait headlines ” and outlandish Facebook descriptions, it also included tips for separating fake news from true news.
The list included both left- and right-wing fake news sources. Some of the websites listed, such as abcnews.com.co, were intentionally set up to mislead readers by adopting names and/or URLs that are close to valid news organizations, such as ABC News.
The popular InfoWars was included on the list, as well as Blue Nation Review, Breitbart, Liberal America, and the Blaze, among others.
Valid sites like the New Yorker’s Borowitz Report, which is a satire column, were included on the list simply to let people know that it is indeed satire.
The fact that such a high percentage of people get their news directly from Facebook is one reason the list seeks to let readers know what articles being shared might be false or contain twisted and fake info. The list also included tips to watch out for websites that end in “lo,” like Newslo.
They also warned folks to research whether or not valid news sources are reporting the same stories, and to be wary of weird looking domain names. Making use of Snopes to check if a story was false or not before spreading it via Facebook was advised.
[Featured Image by Jeff Chiu/AP Images]