Fake news websites intentionally publish hoaxes, propaganda, and misinformation to go viral and generate visitors inflamed by social media.
These sites are misleading and often profit from readers being gullible. Most fake news websites are presented as spinoffs of other news sites, some of these websites are structured to make viewers believe they are in fact visiting trusted news sources such as ABC News.
In December 2016, the New York Times noted that fake news has always had a presence on the internet, but since the 2016 presidential elections, fake news has significantly increased as a political weapon. Fake news is not contained within this country. It is rampant worldwide. Fake news is not isolated to politics, all aspects of news are subject to fake news sites.
Fake news involves a website that deliberately publishes news that is not true for creating or inflaming controversial topics. The news sites pretend to be real news organizations. Some examples of fake news sites in the U.S. are; RealTrue news, Juzlers, 70ews, Infomedia, National Report & News Examiner, Christian Times Newspaper and KMT11 News.
4 Types of Fake News
Fake news sites that have article titles prompting the user to click on and read more. This method entices readers to view content on the website leading to exaggerated or fake claims. Usually, the site is linked to other sites. Usually, social media with an extraordinary story and it tricks the users who cannot tell if the article is real or not.
This is another method of gaining readers by impersonating legitimate news organizations. They will either copy a famous news organization’s website by formatting and pretend to be lesser known publication or they copy an existing site down to its name and authors which can trick views into believing the website is official.
This method of fake news involves a website that gets as close as possible to the original URL only differing in a letter or two. An example is ABCnews.com.co. They rely on readers not noticing or checking the address they clicked on being off by one letter. Many viewers on social media believe they are going to an actual news site.
The authors of these websites are not actual reporters, but they pretend to have the identity of a reporter or do not include an “About Us” page. These sites never have publications that reference them or any information about themselves.
Misinformation, spin, lies, and deceit have been around forever in the world of news reporting. During the 2016 election, BuzzFeed’s media editor, Craig Silverman, noticed steam of entirely made-up stories that were originating from a small eastern European town called Macedonia. After investigating further, he found that shortly before the election, there were at least 140 fake news websites pulling in huge numbers on Facebook.
Because of the money made via Facebook advertising, the Macedonians wanted their fiction to travel widely on Social Media. The election was a very hot topic. During this investigation, Silverman uncovered was a unique marriage between social media algorithms, advertising systems, and people making up fake news to earn some easy cash during an election that had the whole world watching.
The election created more “fake news,” and since then it has remained a concerning problem. People don’t know who to believe or who to trust. There has been an explosive growth of misinformation on social media.
There is no easy solution to this problem. Pay attention to the methods and types of trickery mentioned in this article.
Social Catfish provides a reverse lookup which can verify if a news site is valid or indeed one of the “fake news” sites.
Use the Search Bar above to see how it works.