Have you ever been hoaxed by a fake news site? It happens a lot more regularly than you might expect, because whether attempts at humor or attempts to maliciously and deliberately deceive, there's no shortage of outright false news whipping around the internet at any given time. In most cases, of course, the satire and comedy is obvious, and stated in an above-board way. But when it comes to deception, well, people aren't going to be so eager to tip their hands ― here are nine fake news sites that you hopefully won't get burned by in the future.
To be clear, in the internet age, it's inevitable that you're going to be fooled sometimes. With the massive amount of resources available, and often on subjects that can be extremely opaque to most people, misleading or outright false information is going to make its way to your eyeballs at some point, and you might even get hoodwinked by it.
But you might stand a better chance if you already know a handful of sites to avoid. Here are nine fake news sites that you should be aware of, especially when you're reading something that seems just a little bit off.
1. National Report
If you see your friends passing around links to National Report stories, go ahead and give them a helpful warning. Although credit where credit's due, that's a pretty good headline.
2. World News Daily Report
No, German scientists have not proven this. One provable claim: You should never trust what you read over at World News Daily Report.
Intended as a play on hard-right, Christian-oriented news blogs, Christwire is not to be taken seriously on any level. That's not to say they haven't bamboozled some high-profile figures. In fact, a Christwire article once duped The Rachel Maddow Show.
While some fake news sites are totally farcical and lacking in any shred of truth, others aim to trick readers for laughs, but Infowars dwells solely in the realm of conspiracy theory. Founded by the vitriolic radio host Alex Jones, a man who's unhinged public persona belies a shrewd sense of self-promotion, Infowars has advanced conspiracy theories about 9/11, the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, chemtrails, and government concentration camps being built within the United States.
A dead giveaway that you're looking at a fake news site (besides the fact that the logo and layout looks nothing like it should) is if you see a URL that ends with .com.co, as this "ABC News" site demonstrates.
6. The Daily Currant
The Daily Currant has tricked some credible news outlets in the past, with one Washington Post writer once falling for a post about Sarah Palin going to work for Al Jazeera. Frankly, with as much publicity as the Daily Currant has gotten for this sorts of things, this is one site you really don't want to be fooled by.
7. News Examiner
As Kim LaCapria of Snopes notes, News Examiner is the brainchild of Paul Horner, the same person who used to write for the notorious hoax news site National Report.
8. Empire News
Whether or not Trump ever tries to run the government out of Trump Tower, you can be assured he will not, as Empire News claims, opening up the White House to "area homeless."
9. Denver Guardian
There is no such newspaper as the Denver Guardian, although you have to give them some credit ― it does sound like the name of a real news outlet. At present, all of the site's articles appear to be down.
Suffice to say, there are many more sites out there spreading fake news, even more than the nine presented here. In particular, people tend to be most vulnerable to this kind of deception when they're self-selecting news that caters to their own pre-existing biases ― the old political echo-chamber effect. In short, always read the full article, and always double check any source links to see where the original reporting is coming from. Otherwise, you might just be had by one of these happily hoaxing websites.
Images: National Report; World News Daily Report; Christwire; Infowars; ABCNews.com.co; The Daily Currant; News Examiner; Empire News; Denver Guardian