Many people, especially those who use social networking sites, are not aware of fake news websites despite the fact that there are dozens of them floating all over the Internet. Some of them publish satirical works, but most of them are not at all funny because they present fake news as the truth. Gullible people not only believe this news to be true, but also share the links with their online friends.
I came across something that made me laugh my head off today. A religious friend had posted a picture of a 101-year-old woman holding a baby along with a caption that the lady had just given birth to the child. He called it a “miracle of god.” While some online friends smelt a rat and called it fake, some believed it to be the “work of god” and posted statements such as “praise the lord,” “God is great,” and so on.
The picture is actually that of 101-year-old Rosa Camfield, grandmother of Sarah Hamm of Arizona. Hamm had visited her grandmother with Kaylee Rowland, her two-week-old daughter. It is actually the picture of a great grandmother holding her two-week-old great granddaughter in her arms. Unfortunately, the old lady died two weeks after Hamm shared this touching photo on a social networking site.
Fake news websites got hold of this photograph, pulled in a photograph of Dr. Sherman Silber, who specializes in ovarian transplants, and created an entirely fake piece of news about a 101-year-old lady giving birth to a child. I have no idea how the religious gang got hold of it, but I guess they are always looking for opportunities to praise god and I don’t really blame them. You can read the fake news here and here.
Fake news is hilarious, but gullible people can swallow it hook, line, and sinker. When many people start believing fake news to be real, things could get dangerous. So how do you identify a fake news website? They don’t exactly shout out that they are fakes. You will find the information in fine print in some corner of their terms or disclaimer page.
Here is an interesting site that can help you – Fake News Watch. They have made a list of fake news sites and placed them under three categories–fake news sites or sites that purposely try to fool people by presenting fake news as the truth, satire websites that make fun of the news, and clickbait websites that make up false stories by putting together bits of several true stories.
You can also check out Wikipedia’s list of satirical news websites.