It’s not difficult to build a website that copies or is similar to an established news website — and it’s easy to then post from it onto social media to encourage people to click to get to what they think is a reputable web site but may be the opposite.
Information can spread really fast but not as fast as conspiracy theories and fake news.
There is so much fake news, misinformation and conspiracy theory around and it’s up to each of us to filter the ‘information’ we take in. Judge everything in it’s context and how trustworthy the source is.
Anyone can publish anything they want subject to libel laws.
Here are some sites that can help identify the truth in amongst the dross and lies.
The BBC Reality Check
This is quality journalism looking at recent claims by high profile figures and analysing the truth or lack of in their statements.
The BBC say “Worried about a story you’ve seen online or on social media? BBC Reality Check is a BBC News service dedicated to clearing up fake news and false stories to find the truth. Examining the facts and claims behind a story to try to determine whether or not it is true”.
Probably the oldest fact-checking site online is Snopes, which has been fact-checking weird stories since before Google had a search engine. They have a long record of being unbiased, showing their work, and keeping up the irreverent tone that true internet nerds love. They’re also great for everything from urban myths to political statements.
If one of your hobbies is fact-checking the things politicians say, then FactCheck.org can be a big help. The site is a non-partisan “‘consumer advocate’ for voters” that monitors and checks the things people in politics say in “TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews and news releases.”
Politifact is another one for fact-checking what politicians say.
Washington Post Fact Checker (www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/)
Plenty of expert analysis alongside the fact-checking. The publication tends to lean liberal, but this tool has a reputation for being non-partisan. They also have a funny Pinocchio graphic that gauges just how big the lie really is.
If you have any experiences with these scams do let me know, by email.