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Fake news is unavoidable.
While the idea of “fake news” was born out of the very real instances of fake news stories helping sway the election in favor of now-President Donald Trump, it has since been co-opted by Trump’s administration to be used as a weapon to sow doubt in legitimate media stories that they find unappealing.
But real fake news—not the kind Trump likes to point out on Twitter virtually every day—is pervasive. And if you care about reading truthful stories, you need to be on high alert.
Facebook, a primary driver of traffic to publications, came under fire late last year for allowing the promotion of fake news sites that deal in conspiracy theories rather than facts. Some Facebook employees even reportedly revolted and took matters into their own hands before the company took steps to reduce fake news.
Both Facebook and Google have responded by cutting these sites out of their advertising networks and otherwise making their stories harder to find. And PolitiFact, a Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking site, has launched a new section devoted to fake news.
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But fake news sites are still out there, and someone on your Facebook friend’s list is probably sharing one of their stories right now. If you want to check out whether a story is from a dubious source yourself, you can use one of these three Google Chrome plugins to check.
Late last year, Melissa Zimdars, a media professor at Merrimack College in Massachusetts, compiled a list of “fake, false, or regularly misleading websites” that purposefully publish fake information or are otherwise entirely unreliable. The list, which was temporarily removed due to threats and harassment Zimdars says she received, also included sites that “may circulate misleading and/or potentially unreliable information” or “sometimes use clickbait-y headlines and social media descriptions.”
Of course, “real news” media outlets and journalists sometimes make mistakes, including us at the Daily Dot. And when we do, we issue corrections and take responsibility for those mistakes. Fake news sites make no such efforts toward accuracy and often invent entirely fictional stories, which is what puts them in a different category. Further, some fake news sites—particularly government-controlled media outlets—mostly publish factual news but mix in some fake stories for propaganda purposes.
Below, we’ve compiled a list of 176 sites that Zimdars and the other researchers who created the list rank as straight-up “fake news.” The full list, which is hundreds of sites long, also includes “clickbait” sites, publications with heavy bias, satire, publications that promote “hate,” “conspiracy,” or “junk science, ”and those that specialize in rumors or unreliable information. To see the full list, click here.
Next time you see a headline that just feels off, come back here and check if it’s from one of these popular fake news websites.
Fake news sites
Editor’s note: This story is regularly updated with new information. Websites that no longer fit the criteria of “fake news” will be removed. If you notice a site on the list is no longer active or no longer qualifies, please email us at [email protected] or tweet at us at @DotLayer8.
Andrew Couts is the former editor of Layer 8, a section dedicated to the intersection of the Internet and the state—and the gaps in between. Prior to the Daily Dot, Couts served as features editor and features writer for Digital Trends, associate editor of TheWeek.com, and associate editor at Maxim magazine. When he’s not working, Couts can be found hiking with his German shepherds or blasting around on motorcycles.
Andrew Wyrich is a politics staff writer for the Daily Dot, covering the intersection of politics and the internet. Andrew has written for USA Today, NorthJersey.com, and other newspapers and websites. His work has been recognized by the Society of the Silurians, Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE), and the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ).