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Exposing Falsehoods and Revealing Truths

Here are all the fake 'news' sites to watch out for on Facebook

Bad news

Photo via flyparade/Getty Images (Licensed)

It's a minefield out there, folks.

The hot new thing in the world of media is websites that are completely bogus. 

Facebook, a primary driver of traffic to publications, has come under fire for allowing the promotion of fake news websites and sites that deal in conspiracy theories rather than facts. Some Facebook employees even reportedly revolted and took matters into their own hands.

Many have questioned whether the rise of fake news contributed to the election victory of President-elect Donald Trump, and 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.

But those sites are still out there, and someone on your Facebook friend's list is probably sharing one of their stories right now. 

Fortunately, 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 has since been 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.”

The list included both left- and right-wing publications, and it is regularly updated or amended. Here is how Zimdars has categorized them:

“CATEGORY 1: Below is a list of fake, false, or regularly misleading websites that are shared on Facebook and social media. Some of these websites may rely on “outrage” by using distorted headlines and decontextualized or dubious information in order to generate likes, shares, and profits. These websites are categorized with the number 1 next to them.

“CATEGORY 2: Some websites on this list may circulate misleading and/or potentially unreliable information, and they are marked with a 2.

“CATEGORY 3: Other websites on this list sometimes use clickbait-y headlines and social media descriptions, and they are marked with a 3.

“CATEGORY 4: Other sources on this list are purposefully fake with the intent of satire/comedy, which can offer important critical commentary on politics and society, but have the potential to be shared as actual/literal news. I’m including them here, for now, because 1.) they have the potential to perpetuate misinformation based on different audience (mis)interpretations and 2.) to make sure anyone who reads a story by The Onion, for example, understands its purpose. If you think this is unnecessary, please see Literally Unbelievable.”

Below is the complete list, which Zimdars originally published under a Creative Commons license that allows publishers to freely reprint the list. Keep in mind: Not all of these sites are intentionally spreading fake news, so pay attention to the rating.

  1. 100PercentFedUp.com (2,3)
  2. EnduringVision.com (1)
  3. PakAlertPress.com
  4. 21stCenturyWire.com (2, 3)
  5. FPRNradio.com
  6. PoliticalBlindSpot.com
  7. 70news.wordpress.com (1)
  8. The Free Thought Project (3)
  9. PoliticalEars.com
  10. Abcnews.com.co (1)
  11. GeoEngineeringWatch.org
  12. Politicalo (1)
  13. ActivistPost.com (2, 3)
  14. PoliticusUSA
  15. Addicting Info (3)
  16. GovtSlaves.info
  17. PrisonPlanet.com
  18. AmericanNews.com (1)
  19. GulagBound.com
  20. PrisonPlanet.tv 
  21. AnonNews.co (3)
  22. HangTheBankers.com
  23. Private-eye.co.uk (includes 4)
  24. Associated Media Coverage
  25. HumansAreFree.com
  26. ProjectVeritas
  27. BeforeItsNews.com
  28. Huzlers (4)
  29. Being Liberal
  30. IfYouOnlyNews
  31. React 365
  32. BigAmericanNews.com
  33. Indecision Forever (1)
  34. RealFarmacy.com
  35. BigPZone.com
  36. RealNewsRightNow.com (1, 4)
  37. Bipartisan Report (3)
  38. InfoWars (1, 2)
  39. RedFlagNews.com
  40. BizPac Review
  41. Infowars.com
  42. Red State (3)
  43. Blue Nation Review (2,3)
  44. IntelliHub.com
  45. Reductress (4)
  46. Breitbart (2, 3)
  47. Inquisitr.com
  48. RileNews.com (1, 4)
  49. Call the Cops (4)
  50. JonesReport.com
  51. Satira Tribune
  52. Cap News  (4)
  53. LewRockwell.com
  54. Sprotspickle.com (4)
  55. ChristWire.org (4)
  56. Liberal America
  57. The Blaze
  58. Chronicle.su
  59. LibertyTalk.fm
  60. The Free Thought Project (3)
  61. CivicTribune.com (1)
  62. LibertyUnyielding
  63. Borowitz Report (4)
  64. ClickHole.com (4)
  65. LibertyVideos.org
  66. The Onion (4)
  67. CoastToCoastAM.com (2)
  68. LMR/LibertyMovementRadio.com
  69. The Other 98% (3)
  70. CollectiveEvolution (3)
  71. MediaMass.net (1)
  72. The Reporterz
  73. ConsciousLifeNews.com (2)
  74. MegynKelly.us (1)
  75. The Stately Harold
  76. ConservativeOutfitters.com (2)
  77. MSNBC.com.co (1)
  78. TheDailySheeple.com
  79. ConspiracyWire (WideAwakeAmerica.com) (2)
  80. MSNBC.website (1)
  81. TheNewsNerd.com
  82. CountdownToZeroTime.com (2)
  83. Naha Daily (4)
  84. TheRunDownLive.com
  85. CounterPsyOps.com
  86. National Report
  87. TheUsPatriot.com
  88. NationalReport.net (1)
  89. TruthFrequencyRadio.com
  90. CreamBMP.com (1)
  91. NaturalNews.com
  92. Twitchy.com (3)
  93. DailyBuzzLive.com
  94. NC Scooper
  95. UnconfirmedSources.com
  96. DailyCurrant.com
  97. NCT (New Century Times)
  98. News Examiner
  99. USA Supreme
  100. Daily Wire
  101. News-Hound.com (1)
  102. US.Blasting.News
  103. DCClothesLine.com
  104. NewsBiscuit.com (1)
  105. US Uncut (3)
  106. DCGazette.com (1)
  107. Newslo (1, 4)
  108. VeteransToday.com
  109. DerfMagazine.com
  110. NewsMutiny.com (1, 4)
  111. Disclose.tv
  112. Newswatch 28
  113. WakingUpWisconsin.com
  114. DrudgeReport.com.co (1)
  115. Newswatch 33
  116. Winning Democrats
  117. DuffleBlog.com (4)
  118. NewsWire-24.com
  119. WitScience.org
  120. DuhProgressive.com
  121. NoDisInfo.com
  122. World Net Daily
  123. Embols.com
  124. Now8News
  125. World News Daily Report (4)
  126. Empire Herald
  127. NowTheEndBegins.com
  128. WorldTruth.tv
  129. Empire News (1)
  130. Occupy Democrats (3)
  131. ZeroHedge
  132. EmpireNews.com
  133. Endingthefed.com

In addition to the list, Zimdars has created a tip sheet for news consumers so that we all might better decipher what's real, what's fake, and what's simply misleading in ways that have nothing to do with whether you agree with a particular article or not:

  • Avoid websites that end in “lo” ex: Newslo (above). These sites take pieces of accurate information and then packaging that information with other false or misleading “facts” (sometimes for the purposes of satire or comedy).

  • Watch out for websites that end in “.com.co” as they are often fake versions of real news sources  

  • 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.

  • Lack of author attribution may, but not always, signify that the news story is suspect and requires verification.

  • Some news organizations are also letting bloggers post under the banner of particular news brands; however, many of these posts do not go through the same editing process (ex: BuzzFeed Community Posts, Kinja blogs, Forbes blogs). 

  • Check the “About Us” tab on websites or look up the website on Snopes or Wikipedia for more information about the source.

  • Bad web design and use of ALL CAPS can also be a sign that the source you’re looking at should be verified and/or read in conjunction with other sources. 

  • 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. 

  • It’s always best to read multiple sources of information to get a variety of viewpoints and media frames. Some sources not yet included in this list (although their practices at times may qualify them for addition), such as The Daily Kos, The Huffington Post, and Fox News, vacillate between providing important, legitimate, problematic, and/or hyperbolic news coverage, requiring readers and viewers to verify and contextualize information with other sources. 

So stay vigilant, readers. It's a minefield out there.

Update 9:44am CT, Nov. 18: IJR (Independent Journal Review) has been removed from the original list, and we've updated our story to reflect that.

Update 10:35am CT, Nov. 18: Professor Zimdars has removed the list from her original Google Doc due to threats and harassment she received, the Los Angeles Times reports. We have reached out to Zimdars and will update this piece with more information as it becomes available.

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