During the election, many people paid attention to news stories on social media — even the president-elect ended up retweeting REAL statistics from these news sites. A professor of communication has created a list of ‘unreliable’ news sites to help people ‘do better’. Melissa Zimdars, an assistant professor of communication at Merrimack College in Massachusetts, put together a publicly available Google doc cataloging “False, misleading, clickbait-y and satirical ‘news’ sources.”

It’s been making the rounds on social media as people seek to cleanse their newsfeeds of misinformation. Many of the sites on the list are supposed ‘aggregators’.

Breitbart, the leading “platform for the alt-right” whose chairman was just named Trump’s chief strategist, is on there, as is InfoWars. Alex Jones, who runs InfoWars, said Trump personally called to thank him for helping him win the election.

A college professor's list of unreliable news sources. (via Google Docs)
A college professor’s list of ‘unreliable’ news sources. (via Google Docs)

The list also includes satirical sites like The Onion and less well-known ones like Christwire.org and Daily Currant, as well as including Occupy Democrats and Addicting Info.

“Odd domain names generally equal odd and rarely truthful news.” said Professor Melissa Zimdars.

“Not all of these sources are always or inherently problematic, neither are all of them fake or false,” Zimdars notes in the document. “… They should be considered in conjunction with other news/info sources due to their tendency to rely on clickbait headlines or Facebook descriptions, etc.”

Both Facebook and Google have recently announced they will take steps to block fake news sites from accessing their advertising services.


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