1093 words • 10~16 min read

Sifting the fact from the false in an internet full of fake ‘news’

Southern Fried Science has at the forefront of trying to debunk fake news, such as faux documentaries about mermaids or giant sharks. In their article “Fish tales: combating fake science in the popular media” Andrew Thaler and David Shiffman asked that:

“scientists familiarize themselves with common sources of misinformation within their field, so that they can be better able to respond quickly when factually inaccurate content begins to spread”

morpheus

Circulation of fake news news is arguably on the rise. In particular, the plethora of “fake news” during the recent US election was unprecedented. A lot of partisan websites, in particular, were sharing false material. A review conducted by Buzzfeed found that both sides of the election shared false information – although conservative sites shared roughly twice as much false material than liberal sites.  During the election  much fake news was specifically produced in Macedonia and Russia, to either raise click rates, or potentially to influence voters (see this segment by Samantha Bee on Russian trolling). The fake sites  were too frequently shared by viewers uncritically, especially by those using Facebook.

 

lizard-alien

The rise in sharing of fake news was particularly influenced by Facebook changing the way it shared sites of potential interest to members. There had been moves to reduce the amount of fake news and hoax stories, with trending news was curated by human reviewers that separated fact from fiction. However, there were protests that conservative news sources were being restricted and the human curating team was fired. The system became fully automated and algorithms were  ‘loosened’. This ultimately led to a much high rate of fake news slipping into people’s news feeds.  Although, as I was working on this article, both Google and Facebook have announced that they are both going to take measures to restrict the spread of fake news, to some extent or other.

However, regardless of these changes, there is still much false information available online, and a large segment of the public is unaware of what constitutes a reliable source of information … and what is not. As any teacher will tell you, a too large proportion of students, whether at high school or university, assume that because something is on the internet  it must be true (see this SFS article on the need to teach about bona fide sources of information at schools).

 

bona-fide

Thankfully, Dr. Melissa Zimbars (a Professor studying communication and the media at Merrimack College) has curated a list of websites that frequently contain false information- whether it be deliberate and malicious, indirectly through poor fact-checking, or through the sites being “satirical”. The list is provide here (thanks to Dr Zimbar’s creative comments license). This will make it much easier for us all to separate the factual from the fake, when it comes to news, regardless of which side of the political fence you are on.

Fans of The Onion will note that it is listed (because of satire), and might be scratching their heads thinking “surely everyone realizes that Onion stories are not true?!” From personal experience, sadly not. The number of people who thought that SeaWorld really did put killer whales in plastic bags when they were cleaning the tanks (see this and this for evidence) was far too high!

False Misleading or Satirical News Sources

(FYI for those of you with Google Chrome – here’s an extension that will give you a ‘pop up’ warning if you try to access a page on this list)

100PercentFedUp.com
21stCenturyWire.com
70news.wordpress.com
abcnews.com.co
ActivistPost.com
Addicting Info
American News X
AmericanNews.com
AnonNews.co
Associated Media Coverage
BeforeItsNews.com
Being Liberal
BigAmericanNews.com
BigPZone.com
Bipartisan Report
BizPac Review
Blue Nation Review
Breitbart
Cap News  (satire)
ChristWire.org (satire)
Chronicle.su
CivicTribune.com
ClickHole.com (satire/comedy)
CoastToCoastAM.com
CollectiveEvolution
ConsciousLifeNews.com
ConservativeOutfitters.com
ConspiracyWire (WideAwakeAmerica.com)
CountdownToZeroTime.com
CounterPsyOps.com
CreamBMP.com
Crooks and Liars
DailyBuzzLive.com
DailyCurrant.com (satire)
Daily NewsBin
Daily Wire
DCClothesLine.com
DCGazette.com
DerfMagazine.com
Disclose.tv
DrudgeReport.com.co
DuffleBlog.com (satire/comedy)
DuhProgressive.com
Embols.com
Empire Herald
Empire News
EmpireNews.com
Endingthefed.com (ETF News)
EnduringVision.com
FPRNradio.com
The Free Thought Project
GeoEngineeringWatch.org
GlobalResearch.ca
GovtSlaves.info
GulagBound.com
HangTheBankers.com
HumansAreFree.com
Huzlers
IfYouOnlyNews
Indecision Forever (www.cc.com/indecision)
IJR (Independent Journal Review)
InfoWars
Infowars.com
IntelliHub.com
Inquisitor.com
JonesReport.com
LewRockwell.com
Liberal America
LibertyTalk.fm
LibertyUnyielding
LibertyVideos.org
LMR (LibertyMovementRadio.com)
MediaMass.net
MegynKelly.us
MSNBC.com.co
MSNBC.website
Naha Daily
National Report
NationalReport.net
NaturalNews.com
NC Scooper
NCT (New Century Times)
News Examiner
News-Hound.com
NewsBiscuit.com
NewsBuzzDaily
Newslo
NewsMutiny.com
Newswatch 28
Newswatch 33
NewsWire-24.com
NoDisInfo.com
Northcrane.com
Now8News
NowTheEndBegins.com
Occupy Democrats
PakAlertPress.com
PoliticalBlindSpot.com
PoliticalEars.com
Politicalo
PoliticusUSA
PrisonPlanet.com
PrisonPlanet.tv
Private-eye.co.uk (some satire)
ProjectVeritas
Rawstory
React 365
RealFarmacy.com
RealNewsRightNow.com
RedFlagNews.com
Red State
Reductress (satire/comedy)
RileNews.com
Satira Tribune
Sprotspickle.com
The Blaze
The Free Thought Project
The New Yorker’s Borowitz Report (satire column)
The Onion (satire)
The Other 98%
The Reporterz
The Stately Harold
TheDailySheeple.com
TheNewsNerd.com
TheRunDownLive.com
TheUsPatriot.com
TruthFrequencyRadio.com
Twitchy.com
UnconfirmedSources.com
Upworthy
USA Supreme
US.Blasting.News
US Uncut
VeteransToday.com
Walking Times
WakingUpWisconsin.com
Winning Democrats
WitScience.org
World Net Daily
World News Daily Report
WorldTruth.tv
ZeroHedge

This List is was produced by Melissa Zimdars  (© 2016 )  in the work ‘False, Misleading, Clickbait-y, and Satirical “News” Sources‘ which was made  available  under a  Creative Commons

Attribution 4.0  International  License. To  view  a copy of  this license, visit

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/


Dr. Chris Parsons has been involved in whale and dolphin research for over two decades and has been involved in projects on every continent. Dr. Parsons is an Associate Professor at George Mason University as well as the undergraduate coordinator for their environmental science program. He’s a member of the scientific committee of the International Whaling Commission (IWC), has been involved in organizing four of the International Marine Conservation Congresses (IMCC) (the world’s largest academic marine conservation conference) and two of the International Congresses for Conservation Biology. He was a Governor of the Society for Conservation Biology for nearly a decade and is currently on the Board of Directors of the American Cetacean Society and the Society for Marine Mammalogy. In addition, Dr. Parsons has published over 120 scientific papers and book chapters and has written a textbook on marine mammal biology & conservation.


Connect with SFS

  • Please review the comment policy before you reply.