Fake News Websites are everywhere! They gained massive popularity IN the last national Philippine elections because of some crooked people looking to make a quick buck. While they might not be as popular now, it seems that they are here to stay.
Because of their nature, it's hard to fight against these so called "news" websites. People with are too quick to share articles on social media without bothering to check its integrity, as long as the information favors them.
On the bright side, there is something we can do to fight back. Here are a few ways.
Disclaimer - this is not written to favor pro- or anti- administration websites. There are lots of fake news websites on either side. These are steps to fight back against any website spewing out false information claiming it's be true. And needless to say, these are powerful steps, so use with caution. Be 100% that a website is posting fake news before you try these steps.
1. Report In Facebook
This is where these fake news articles usually get their traction. When you see a Page's post with fake news, click on the down arrow on the top right corner of the post.
Then choose "Report Post."
Then choose "I think this shouldn't be on Facebook."
Then choose "It's a false news story."
2. Report The Website To Their Advertisers
This makes sense since these fake news websites exist mainly for ad revenue (well, aside from possible black propaganda; but I digress). Most often, these websites still use the king of Internet advertising- Adsense. Luckily, there is a quick online form you can fill out to report websites publishing fake news:
In case they are using a different ad network, you can just go to that ad network's website and check if there is a way to report abusive publishers.
3. Report The Website To Their Web Hosting Company or Domain Name Registrar
To find out who a a certain website's domain name registrar is, I often use any of these tools:
To find out who their web host is, you can use these:
Once you have found who their domain name registrar or web host is, just search on Google on how to report abusive websites.
For example, if a fake news website is hosted on Hostgator, this is how you report to the offending website - http://support.hostgator.com/articles/pre-sales-policies/where-can-i-report-abuse-and-or-spamming
For Godaddy - https://supportcenter.godaddy.com/abusereport
For Blogspot - https://support.google.com/blogger/answer/76315?hl=en
For those of you who are too busy, here simpler ways to combat these crooked online publishers.
4. Do NOT Share The Article
This can be argued on. While you can mention from the start when you share a fake article that it is fake, the fact that you shared it into other people's news feed is still getting it some attention and more potential ad revenue. Worse, some idiot might be too lazy to read your caption and consider the article accurate and share it some more. It is best to just stop more eyes from seeing the article.
5. Use Adblock
Just do a quick Google seach for Adblock. This is an add-on software for your browser that blocks all the ads on all the websites you visit.
Fake vs Satire
It also worth mentioning that fake news is different from satire. Satire is a valid form of entertainment and can be very amusing if done correctly. Satire attempts to "make fun" of real news and present information in a comical or funny way. The main difference between satire and fake news is that satire is often easily identifiable as being not real and there is a disclaimer somewhere in the website stating that its content are not factual. The most popular example of a satirical news website is The Onion. On the other hand, fake news websites try to pass its fake information as factual and even attempt to get its users to share the article with their friends in order to get more website traffic.
Obviously just one person reporting to Facebook, the advertiser or the domain name registrar or the web host isn't going to solve anything. But if you can encourage more people to report these fake news websites to the proper agencies, then we can make a difference.
Are there ways you can think of to help combat these abusive online publishers? Share them in the comments below.