Fake News Sites: Are We the Chicken Littles of Today?
It’s official. We’ve become a world occupied by Chicken-Little-esque populations who mindlessly accept “the sky is falling” news without so much as looking up to see if it’s true or not.
You know what I’m talking about, and I’d be willing to wager that even you, yes you, have fallen for fake headlines, especially those seen on sites such as Facebook. I’m truly ashamed to admit it, but I’ve been known to roll a cursor over a story title or two and I do because they’re so doggone alluring to those of us who can’t resist. They’re like potato chips, right?
It’s been reported that fake election news on Facebook generated more activity than 19 of the top so-called legitimate news outlets combined (legitimate news – now that’s a questionable statement if there ever was one).
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Why, other than having a bit of fun, do people write these stories? Well, the answer is simple … money, of course. Isn’t that the motivation behind much of what humans do?
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For example, Paul Horner, a fake news superstar, has made a comfortable living by writing and posting faux news. In fact, you may not know it but I’m sure that, if you’re an avid Facebooker, you’ve probably seen and/or read at least one of his totally made-up stories. Such as:
Don’t waste your time visiting the above webpage, unless that is, you enjoy seeing a ton of ads for clothing, Ellen Degeneres’ shocking secrets, Dr. Oz hawking wrinkle cream and, well, you get the idea. The ads are the reason behind the stories and headlines. Companies pay big bucks to post those things on websites.
The website listed above appears to be that of ABC News. However, the site address is not that of the real news agency. It is close, though. But the extra “.co” at the end of the address is what sets off the “fake site” alarm bells.
There are many other fake news sites out there, and they’re all waiting for us to click the bait-filled headlines. Unfortunately, all that’s accomplished is that headline-clickers are lining the pockets of those who write and publish the tall tales AND, these stories have been known to generate tons of of anger, gnashing of teeth, and exploding tempters equal to infernos of raging hellfire.
Believing these faux stories as hard fact has divided family and friends. They’ve caused anger and resentment. I see friends arguing and backstabbing and name calling each and every day over something I know to be totally false—a fake news report on Facebook. And, it is believed by some that these stories and click-baity headlines may have influenced the outcome of the recent election, another source of extreme anger.
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Many of these websites appear to be absolutely legitimate and their headlines reach out to grab us by the
hand throat to reel us, the unsuspecting sheep, inside.
Here’s a great example of headlines that seem true, especially if the reader already has a dislike for cops and firefighters.
From Call the Cops, a website dripping with satire (but people believe it!):
I know people believe these stories because someone read and complained about an article I published where I stated police officers are not trained to shoot hands, feet, weapons from a suspect’s hands, etc. The reader sent me a nasty note saying I didn’t have a clue what I was talking about because they saw a more reliable news article that reported a new mandate handed down by the Department of Justice that absolutely proved my information to be incorrect. The article-reader went on to say, according to the piece he/she read online, the DOJ has ordered all U.S. police officers to stop aiming for center mass and instead point their weapons toward softer targets, such as those aforementioned hands and feet. This, of course, was a faux article posted to Call the Cops.
So, to hopefully put a damper on this horrible trend of people obtaining their news from phony sources, Facebook and Google are each cracking down by removing these faux sites from their advertising networks. Other sites are posting lists of these phony news sources. I know, how do we know if the sites posting the fake news sites are telling the truth?
I’m so confused.
But the sun is shining today and all is well. Unless you believe the latest report …
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* PLEASE, DO NOT POST POLITICAL COMMENTS!!!!!
(Seriously, this is real)