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A Hoax-Slayer Knowledge Guide

Identifying Fake-News Articles and Websites

Over recent years, more and more fake-news websites have appeared online. These sites publish articles that  - for the most part - are simply made up by their authors.

The stories may use the names of real people and reference real events but are fictional nevertheless.

Many of the stories tend to spread rapidly via social media in the form of brief messages comprising a headline, introductory text, and a link back to the full report.

These fake-news sites tend to palm themselves off as satirical or for 'entertainment purposes only'. The problem is that their fictional stories are deliberately presented as news articles. The sites are formatted so that they resemble genuine online news portals.



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Thus, many people are fooled into believing that the stories are genuine and factual.  And, they are therefore more likely to share the stories via social media thereby spreading the nonsense even further.
Here are a few ways that can help you identify a fake-news article:

Check Real News Sites

If a news story is real and significant, many news outlets will likely cover it. Thus, searching for the topic on a news aggregator such as Google News should reveal if a story is genuine.

The absence of any references to the story on genuine news websites should certainly raise a red flag.

Check Other Stories on The Site

Have a browse through other stories featured on the site. Do many of them sound weird or unbelievable? And, again, can any of the stories be confirmed via legitimate news outlets?

Check for Disclaimer

Some fake-news 'satire' sites include a disclaimer that states that stories published on the site are fictional or satirical. The disclaimer is often on the site's 'About' page. Or it may be included in the site's footer.

Unfortunately, not all such sites include a disclaimer. Nevertheless, if you suspect that a news article that you are reading may be untrue, it is worth checking for a disclaimer.

Check Reports of Site on Other Websites

Often doing a search such as '< name of site > satire', '< name of site > hoax', or '< name of site > fake' can bring up reports on other websites that reveal the true nature of the site.

List of Fake-News Websites

Below is a list of some of the more prominent fake-news satire websites.

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Last updated: June 9, 2015
First published: July 23, 2014
By Brett M. Christensen
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