How to Determine Fake News Sites: List of False, Misleading, Clickbait, & Satirical “News” Sources

Back in the days when journalism was rewarded and people read newspapers for unbiased papers they had this thing called editorials. Editorials are opinions. Most publications do not seem to tell readers anymore when it’s actual news or an opinion. The problem got worse after Fox News debuted because it was basically an opinion or editorial network. They would tell what they considered the “news” but in their biased way of doing so. The problem got worse in the last election when the internet has been flooded with many propaganda, misleading, and extremist sites that were not based on references or fact. Sites and blogs that had no respect for real journalism.

An assistant professor of communication and media put together a resource that started as a tool for teaching her students about journalism, social media, and media literacy. This is a great source for putting together which sites to check on before clicking or reading an article that you may see almost hourly in your newsfeed. Some of the highly popular sites listed on here are, Breitbart, and USUncut. Breitbart was one of the highest ranked sites in the trending section of Facebook during the election which posted what were in disguise as journalism but were really conspiracy or misleading claims. Here is a short summary of some of the most popular Facebook linked sites that are what we call Fake News:
1. Absolutely fake. The .co should alert people it is not real. We normally only trust .com sites as our #1 Rule for U.S. News.
2. unreliable – Anonymous posted many unreliable sourced stories during the election.
3. – rumors.
4. – bias, unreliable.
5. – bias, conspiracy.
6. – political, clickbait.
7. – bias, clickbait.
8. – clickbait, bias. One of the top Bernie bro and Green Party cited sites but not real journalism. They were also sold.
9. – clickbait, bias
10. – state-ran. Russia runs this propaganda channel.
11. – conspiracy site.

They also listed a few sites that were factual such as Which was listed as political but credible. One site that the document failed to mention was which should be listed as a hate site. You can see the full list below.

Russia Plays A Big Role In Spreading Fake “News”
Facebook reports that it found about $100,000 in ad spending from a likely Russian influence operation designed to amplify divisive political messages. That covers thousands of ads to over 470 inauthentic accounts and pages that violated company policy. The ads and accounts appeared to focus on amplifying divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum — touching on topics from LGBT matters to race issues to immigration to gun rights. Facebook representatives told congressional investigators that it found it had sold ads to a shadowy Russian company looking to target voters — a “troll farm” with a history of pro-Kremlin propaganda, The Washington Post reports. Some ads directly named Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

Russian Propaganda and paid internet trolls will only get worse to try and change elections across Germany, France, the United States and other countries they wish to influence. If you think the fake news problem is bad in the U.S. well it is far worse in Russia. They helped rig the U.S. election and will also work to rig other countries elections. If you google “Hillary Clinton” for results only from Russian webpages and then translate the pages all of them basically have headlines that read “Hillary plans to kill all Russian children, Obama supports her decision” and “Hillary plans to nuke Russia until extinct” “Obama threatens to murder all Russian families” and these same websites say things like “Donald trump Provides medication for 5 million children worldwide”. It almost seems they took facts about Trump and put Hillary and Obama’s names on them.

Because of internet censorship in Russia, monitoring, and extreme repercussions for finding ways around their federal blacklist, it would be nearly impossible for the average citizen of Russia to know that what they report about Hillary is actually true for President Trump and vice versa. It’s interesting that the United States media organizations have not figured this out yet.

Bernie Sanders, Pro-Trump, & Jill Stein Facebook Groups Are A Prime Fake News Machine
The Huff Post did a great piece on how the “Bernie Sanders’ Campaign Faced A Fake News Tsunami” and how it all came from the Russian trolls set out to distract and divide the invigorated left. 40 percent of the domain registrations for the fake news sites that were popping up on pro-Sanders pages were pinged back to Eastern Europe. Bernie supporters across the country had been noticing dubious websites and posters linked back to Eastern Europe on groups including Latinos for Bernie Sanders, Oregon for Bernie Sanders 2016 and Pennsylvania Progressives for Bernie Sanders.

These groups have hundreds of thousands of members where a fake news story would be posted with a headline of “This is a story you won’t see on Fox/CNN or the other Mainstream media!” with a link to a post claiming false information such as that Clinton had “made a small fortune by arming ISIS.” The Bernie Sanders Lovers page saw heavy engagement, and nearly every article it shared was from and more currently you see they are sharing stories from Both sites were registered by a person name Hysen Alimi in Albania. When you click on these sites Chrome will warn you your connection is “not secure.”

Tips for analyzing news sources:

  • Avoid websites that end in “lo” ex: Newslo. 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 “” 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. 
  • If the website you’re reading encourages you to DOX individuals, it’s unlikely to be a legitimate source of news.
  • It’s always best to read multiple sources of information to get a variety of viewpoints and media frames. Sources 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.
  • For more tips on analyzing the credibility and reliability of sources, please check out School Library Journal (they also provide an extensive list of media literacy resources) and the Digital Resource Center.

OpenSources Steps for Analyzing Websites:

Step 1:  Title/Domain Analysis. If words like “.wordpress” or “blogger” are in the domain that usually signifies it’s a personal blog rather than a news source. If slight variations of well known websites appear, such as “,” this is usually a sign that the website is fake version of a source. However, remember that foreign reputable news organizations may have these country-specific domains.

Step 2: About Us Analysis. I usually google every title/domain name/anyone listed in the “About Us” section to see if anyone has previously reported on the website (snopes, hoax-slayer, politifact,, etc.) or whether it has a wikipedia page or something similar detailing its background. This is useful for identifying and correctly interpreting lesser known and/or new websites that may be on the up-and-up, such as satirical sources or websites that are explicit about their political orientation.

Then I look for information about the credentials and backgrounds of affiliated writers (is it a content mill or do they pay their writers?), editors, publishers, and domain owners ( etc.). It’s also useful to see if the website has a “Legal” or “Disclaimer” section. Many satirical websites disclose this information in those sections.

A total lack of About Us, Contact US, or any other type of identifying information may mean that the website is not a legitimate source of information.

Step 3: Source Analysis. Does the website mention/link to a study or source? Look up the source/study. Do you think it’s being accurately reflected and reported? Are officials being cited? Can you confirm their quotes elsewhere? Some media literacy and critical scholars call this triangulation: Verify details, facts, quotes, etc. with multiple sources.

Step 4: Writing Style Analysis. Does the website follow AP Style Guide or another style guide? Typically, lack of style guide may indicate an overall lack of editing or fact-checking process. Does it frequently use ALL CAPS in headlines and/or body text? Does the headline or body of the text use words like WOW!, SLAUGHTER!, DESTROY!? This stylistic practice and these types of hyperbolic word choices are often used to create emotional responses with readers that is avoided in more traditional styles of journalism.

Step 5:  Aesthetic Analysis. Like the style-guide, many fake and questionable news sites utilize very bad design. Usually this means screens are cluttered with text and heavy-handed photoshopping or born digital images.

Step 6: Social Media Analysis.  Look up the website on Facebook. Do the headlines and posts rely on sensational or provocative language– aka clickbait– in order to attract attention and encourage likes, clickthroughs, and shares? Do the headlines and social media descriptions match or accurately reflect the content of the linked article? (this step isn’t particularly good at helping us find fake news, but it can help us identify other misleading news sources)

By considering all of these areas of information we can determine which category or categories a website may occupy, although all categorizations are by necessity open to discussion and revision.

Website Labels for

Fake News (tag fake): Sources that entirely fabricate information, disseminate deceptive content, or grossly distort actual news reports.  

Satire (tag satire): Sources that use humor, irony, exaggeration, ridicule, and false information to comment on current events.  

Extreme Bias (tag bias): Sources that come from a particular point of view and may rely on propaganda, decontextualized information, and opinions distorted as facts.

Conspiracy Theory (tag conspiracy): Sources that are well-known promoters of kooky conspiracy theories.

Rumor Mill (tag rumor): Sources that traffic in rumors, gossip, innuendo, and unverified claims.

State News (tag state): Sources in repressive states operating under government sanction.

Junk Science (tag junksci): Sources that promote pseudoscience, metaphysics, naturalistic fallacies, and other scientifically dubious claims.

Hate News (tag hate): Sources that actively promote racism, misogyny, homophobia, and other forms of discrimination.

Clickbait (tag clickbait): Sources that provide generally credible content, but use exaggerated, misleading, or questionable headlines, social media descriptions, and/or images.  

Proceed With Caution (tag unreliable): Sources that may be reliable but whose contents require further verification.

*Political (tag political): Sources that provide generally verifiable information in support of certain points of view or political orientations.  

*Credible (tag reliable): Sources that circulate news and information in a manner consistent with traditional and ethical practices in journalism (Remember: even credible sources sometimes rely on clickbait-style headlines or occasionally make mistakes. No news organization is perfect, which is why a healthy news diet consists of multiple sources of information).

Unknown (tag unidentified): Sources that have not yet been analyzed. Help us expand our resource by providing us information!

Note: Tags like political and credible are being used for two reasons: 1.) they were suggested by viewers of the document or OpenSources and circulate news 2.) the credibility of information and of organizations exists on a continuum, which this project aims to demonstrate. For now, mainstream news organizations are not included because they are well known to a vast majority of readers.

Working Website List for

The below list of websites is a combination of my original list in this google document, numerous other lists on the internet, and suggestions from readers/internet users. All tagged websites have been analyzed by myself or one of the librarians I’m working with on OpenSources. All websites tagged as “unknown”  still need to be analyzed, and some of them may be removed entirely from the resource for various reasons (i.e. it doesn’t circulate “news” or the website no longer exists). Finally, please remember that all tags may be subject to revision based on feedback, discussion, continued analysis, or website changes etc.      

url tag tag 2 Tag 3 bias conspiracy fake bias conspiracy bias conspiracy fake conspiracy fake unreliable fake fake conspiracy conspiracy rumor satire fake satire unreliable conspiracy conspiracy clickbait unreliable fake political credible unknown unreliable bias unreliable conspiracy unknown political credible unknown conspiracy bias junksci bias clickbait fake fake bias clickbait bias unknown conspiracy rumor bias bias clickbait bias clickbait satire hate conspiracy rumor unreliable clickbait rumor junksci unreliable conspiracy unreliable  bias unreliable  bias unreliable  bias bias conspiracy bias unreliable bias conspiracy unknown unreliable satire conspiracy junksci satire political clickbait unreliable clickbait conspiracy junksci unknown conspiracy unreliable bias clickbait unknown fake  bias hate unknown conspiracy bias bias satire fake conspiracy rumor satire (seen in Pro-Bernie Sanders Groups) fake/clickbait satire fake rumor bias hate clickbait bias fake conspiracy bias rumor clickbait bias unreliable unknown clickbait unreliable unknown clickbait unreliable unreliable satire fake clickbait unreliable unknown political unreliable bias bias conspiracy conspiracy satire fake rumor unreliable bias fake satire conspiracy bias fake unknown fake satire unknown fake unknown satire junksci clickbait clickbait bias hate bias fake bias rumor bias satire satire unknown unknown unknown fake fake fake conspiracy bias satire unreliable unreliable bias unreliable unknown junksci junksci conspiracy unknown unknown political clickbait conspiracy hate junksci unknown fake bias fake unreliable bias conspiracy clickbait unknown unknown fake conspiracy unreliable clickbait unknown conspiracy unknown bias bias bias conspiracy unreliable credible unknown conspiracy conspiracy conspiracy bias conspiracy political unreliable political conspiracy political political bias conspiracy satire fake unknown satire fake satire satire fake fake political clickbait credible parody fake bias clickbait unknown conspiracy bias unknown bias bias satire hate conspiracy bias unknown bias satire hate bias bias conspiracy unknown unreliable hate political conspiracy conspiracy junkscience fake unreliable unknown unknown unknown bias political unknown political fake fake satire satire unknown junksci satire conspiracy conspiracy unknown unknown political satire unknown bias fake
Dont-Tread-On.Me conspiracy fake satire unknown bias bias fake satire satire conspiracy bias clickbait conspiracy unknown unknown unknown conspiracy junksci clickbait junksci conspiracy unreliable bias clickbait satire satire fake fake satire fake satire satire political fake bias unknown unknown fake unknown hate conspiracy fake satire conspiracy unknown unknown junksci unknown
ExplosiveReports.Com unknown conspiracy hate unknown bias clickbait fake conspiracy junksci unknown fake satire conspiracy bias unknown unknown bias conspiracy junksci political unknown unreliable bias unknown fake satirical unknown satire satire junksci political unknown conspiracy junksci conspiracy fake bias bias fake conspiracy conspiracy bias bias conspiracy unknown unknown satire unknown satire satire conspiracy junksci bias bias hate unknown unknown political conspiracy junksci unknown junksci conspiracy bias unknown hate conspiracy junksci conspiracy political unknown conspiracy unknown unknown satire conspiracy unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown satire fake unknown fake conspiracy bias conspiracy conspiracy unknown political unreliable bias bias conspiracy junksci bias junksci unknown unknown unknown bias unknown unknown fake conspiracy unknown bias conspiracy rumor unknown satire unknown unknown unknown conspiracy satire satire unknown unknown fake satire bias clickbait fake bias unreliable unknown bias clickbait junksci clickbait unreliable unknown conspiracy unreliable bias unreliable fake hate conspiracy conspiracy bias conspiracy unreliable unknown fake clickbait bias conspiracy bias fake satire satire fake unknown fake fake political political bias unknown conspiracy unreliable bias clickbait unknown unknown unknown satire conspiracy unknown bias unknown unknown bias unknown
Kauilapele,com unknown unknown unknown unknown satire unknown unknown unknown bias unreliable unknown unknown clickbait bias satire satire fake fake hate conspiracy unreliable bias conspiracy bias conspiracy clickbait bias unreliable bias bias clickbait junksci clickbait bias clickbait unknown bias malware warning clickbait satire unknown unreliable clickbait unreliable clickbait unreliable hate rumor bias bias fake unknown unknown unknown unknown fake rumor unreliable rumor fake unknown unknown conspiracy bias hate unknown political unknown unknown bias unknown unreliable fake bias unknown fake satire fake unknown unknown fake bias fake bias satire political unknown unknown unknown satire fake unknown unknown conspiracy fake conspiracy junksci conspiracy junksci conspiracy fake unknown unknown satire unknown unreliable bias unreliable bias political fake satire fake satire satire unknown fake unknown bias fake satire fake fake unreliable bias satire fake bias unknown conspiracy satire satire fake fake rumor unreliable fake conspiracy satire conspiracy unreliable unknown unknown conspiracy unknown unreliable clickbait fake unknown fake conspiracy unknown unknown clickbait satire unknown unknown unknown satire unknown unknown unknown clickbait bias unreliable bias clickbait unknown bias conspiracy unknown unknown bias conspiracy conspiracy fake conspiracy bias unknown bias conspiracy bias conspiracy clickbait bias unreliable fake conspiracy fake bias unknown bias clickbait unknown bias clickbait bias satire unknown bias conspiracy bias conspiracy bias conspiracy unknown unknown unknown unknown bias conspiracy bias unknown unknown unknown conspiracy junkscience bias clickbait conspiracy unreliable clickbait fake unknown fake unknown unknown fake clickbait bias satire unreliable unknown unknown unknown unreliable vias unknown clickbait unreliable unknown unreliable bias rumor conspiracy bias rumor conspiracy conspiracy fake political bias unreliable unknown bias unreliable bias unreliable conspiracy conspiracy conspiracy fake unknown unknown bias unreliable political fake bias political unknown bias clickbait unknown unknown junksci political clickbait unknown unknown fake bias fake clickbait unknown conspiracy bias fake clickbait junksci conspiracy fake satire junksci unknown bias unreliable bias conspiracy unreliable unknown political clickbait bias clickbait satire bais clickbait conspiracy junksci junksci hate junksci clickbait fake unknown fake conspiracy bias unreliable unknown unknown bias unreliable fake satire political satire political conspiracy junksci rumor unknown political unknown political bias clickbait satire satire satire unknown conspiracy junksci satire conspiracy junksci unknown unknown unknown conspiracy junksci unknown conspiracy bias unknown unknown
Silver-Coin-Investor. com conspiracy bias unreliable conspiracy conspiracy bias unknown unknown conspiracy unknown bias conspiracy junksci unknown unknown conspiracy bias unreliable unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown satire bias state unknown unknown unknown unknown satire fake unknown satire fake bias unknown unknown fake bias unknown satire unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown fake bias unknown unknown unknown unknown satire political clickbait fake unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown fake conspiracy unknown fake clickbait unknown political unknown unknown unknown satire conspiracy bias satire unknown unreliable unknown conspiracy bias conspiracy junksci clickbait conspiracy bias conspiracy conspiracy junksci fake bias clickbait unreliable conspiracy clickbait bias conspiracy unreliable unreliable unknown satire satire unreliable unknown unknown unknown fake conspiracy bias unknown conspiracy junksci bias unreliable bias conspiracy satire unknown conspiracy junksci clickbait conspiracy junksci clickbait unknown hate conspiracy unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown satire satire unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown conspiracy satire conspiracy bias unreliable unknown (see above on pro-Bernie Russian Trolls same owner as unreliable fake satire bias conspiracy hate unknown fake fake bias unknown hate unknown unknown unknown satire satire unknown satire satire satire unknown fake bias fake conspiracy junksci unknown satire satire fake satire unknown bias conspiracy clickbait unknown unknown unknown unknown fake conspiracy bias unknown unknown satire clickbait unreliable conspiracy unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown clickbait unreliable unknown bias clickbait fake unknown bias conspiracy clickbait conspiracy clickbait hate bias conspiracy conspiracy unknown unknown bias conspiracy junksci unknown bias hate unknown unknown unknown unknown clickbait rumor unknown conspiracy bias satire unknown fake conspiracy bias unknown fake unknown unknown satire unreliable unknown unknown fake unknown fake conspiracy unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown fake bias clickbait unknown fake bias clickbait unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown bias unreliable unknown unknown unknown fake unknown unknown bias conspiracy hate fake unknown unreliable unknown fake conspiracy junksci bias conspiracy unreliable unknown unknown unknown fake bias conspiracy unknown unknown clickbait bias unreliable unknown unknown unknown unknown bias unreliable fake conspiracy fake bias clickbait unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown conspiracy unknown unknown unreliable bias conspiracy bias conspiracy satire satire unknown unknown unknown bias conspiracy unknown fake conspiracy bias unknown fake rumor clickbait unknown bias clickbait conspiracy conspiracy rumor hate conspiracy bias unreliable junksci rumor unknown rumors rumors unknown unknown conspiracy satire bias unreliable satire bias clickbait unreliable unknown satire unknown unknown unknown satire bias fake fake fake conspiracy junksci junksci clickbait satire state unknown political fake bias bias unreliable fake unknown unknown clickbait junksci unknown unknown conspiracy conspiracy

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