Boy have we got a "Winner of the Day" for ya folks:
Facebook has worked at limiting the reach of hoax-purveying sites in their customers’ news feeds, inhibiting (but not eradicating) the spread of fake news stories. Hoaxes and fake news are often little more than annoyances to unsuspecting readers, but sometimes circulating stories negatively affect businesses or localities by spreading false, disruptive claims that are widely believed.
So long as social media allows for the rapid spread of information, manipulative entities will seek to cash in on the rapid spread of misinformation. Perhaps the most egregious of the many nonsense peddlers on social media are fake news sites, so here we offer a guide to five of the most frequent (and unapologetic) hoax purveyors cluttering up newsfeeds everywhere.
National ReportNo list of shameless misinformation spread would be complete without a mention of National Report (and its omnipresent former lead writer, Paul Horner), as the site is (or was) perhaps the most prominent example of its genre.
Among National Report‘s most widespread hoaxes were claims that notorious street artist Banksy was arrested and unmasked (as Paul Horner, naturally), that a teen was imprisoned over a “swatting prank,” and that a U.S. company was hiring mercenaries to kill ISIS militants. While most of the site’s efforts have been relatively benign, their fake story about an Ebola outbreak prompting a quarantine in Purdon, Texas, caused headaches for local officials at the height of ongoing coverage about the virus.
(The ubiquitous Paul Horner has since moved on to the equally fake News Examiner site, continuing to offer fictitious stories about subjects such as the world’s first successful head transplant.)
World News Daily ReportStraddling the line of fake news and the occasional seed of truth is World News Daily Report. By cobbling together misattributed stolen photographs (and often using extant, long-circulating rumors), World News Daily Report has published several viral claims often preying upon readers’ religious beliefs, including hoaxes about a newly discovered eyewitness account of Jesus’ miracles, an ancient rumor about chariot wheels found at the bottom of the Red Sea, and a very old yarn about the discovery of giant skeletons reworked as the tale of a coverup perpetrated by the Smithsonian Institution. However, World News Daily Report frequently branches out to science-based fakery, including japes about the destruction of the world’s oldest tree and another about the discovery of a Megalodon shark in Pakistan.
HuzlersWhile National Report and World News Daily Report often take advantage of politically, socially, or religiously divisive issues to drive outrage-based traffic, Huzlers employs a markedly different approach to fake news hoaxes, often invoking the names of popular brands and restaurants in its quest to snare readers with gross-out stories.
Among Huzlers’ most prominent yarns: Chipotle was caught using cat and dog meat in their dishes, Starbucks was discovered to be using semen in their beverages, Arizona iced tea tested positive for urine, and McDonald’s was outed for including human meat in their products.
Empire NewsEmpire News (spun off from what was initially a sports-related fake news site) is another outlet responsible for the propagation of fabricated claims that spread on sites like Facebook. Some of their stories are apolitical and simply compelling to readers, such as a claim the Netflix entertainment streaming service would be shuttering due to the negative impact of piracy, or one that Las Vegas planned to legalize dog fighting to boost casino revenues.
Other Empire News hoaxes were somewhat news-based, such as one predicting massive national snowfalls for the winter of 2014-2015. Some articles targeted political or social controversies, such as one claiming a protestor in in Ferguson, Missouri, had accidentally burned down his own house. Separate rumors included one holding that Facebook was spying on gun owners for Homeland Security, and one claiming that food stamp recipients would be awarded free cars (or that the food stamp program would be discontinued entirely).
StuppidFake news sites often play to users’ existing beliefs to spread their claims, but Stuppid (a site that truly lives up to its name) is less focused in its contribution to the avalanche of fakery on the Internet. Efforts by Stuppid largely encompass morally offensive fabrications, such as a claim parents admitted to having sex in front of their kids to teach them about procreation, another about a Florida man marrying a baby, and a salacious tale of an incestuous mother-daughter relationship.
While the five sites referenced here represent only a small sample of the overall “satire” nuisance on social media, many widely dispersed fake news claims have originated with them. All of the above-mentioned sites exist solely to spread false information, and none can be trusted as legitimate sources (no matter how compelling their claims might be).
Read more at http://now.snopes.com/2015/05/12/five-fake-news-sites/#ohYyr6GlflJlcd6s.99