1. Let's start with one of the largest, most prolific "satire" website in the world that peddles fake news in the garb of completely humourless content. Called The Daily Currant, it refers to itself as "The Global Satirical Newspaper of Record". Except, that it's not!
The Daily Currant is a fake-news site of a different stripe: one entirely devoid of jokes. Whether this humorlessness is intentional or not—the site's founder contends his critics don't have a sense of subtlety—the site's business model as an ad-driven click-bait-generator relies on it. When Currant stories go viral, it's not because their satire contains essential truths, but rather because their satire is taken as truth—and usually that "truth" is engineered to outrage a particular frequency of the political spectrum.newrepublic.com
Not every fake-news site needs to signal its intentions as quickly and openly as The Onion does, but The Daily Currant's headlines don’t engage in subtlety so much as fail entirely to signal humorous intention. That would be acceptable, perhaps even clever, if the stories themselves skillfully exploited the reader's initial credulity, the copy growing increasingly ludicrous until the reader realizes the joke. Instead, jokes sometimes materialize in the final lines, but they’re half-baked at best.newrepublic.com
The Daily Currant is trying to maximize clicks and shares, and has found a niche between The Onion and real news: all the believability of the latter, but all the libel protections of the former. There's a Catch-22 to this approach, though. As more people have become aware of The Daily Currant—in December, Mediaite whined, "Just Stop It, Everyone: Internet Falls for Daily Currant Fake Story Once Again"—suckers have become increasingly rare. The site is a victim of its own success.newrepublic.com
2. The Internet gives a voice to any idiot with a keyboard and an idea, and National Report is an apt example of this. A so-called "political satire" website, its, at times crude, content seems calculated more to push readers' buttons than to make them laugh.
National Report pretends (somewhat successfully) to be a conservative news and opinion website proudly aligned with the Tea Party camp. Their banner masthead features pictures of Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin on either side of the large bold text, NATIONAL REPORT, with “America’s #1 Independent News Team” in smaller text underneath.freerepublic.com
Satire should be biting—it should call attention to the main issue by distorting reality; it should at least sound smart; it should be funny; and (most importantly) it shouldn't distract people from the point by stirring up outrage for page views. And that's the problem with National Report — it is too desperate for attention to realize that it is screwing itself, its message, and incidentally, anyone who writes anything on the Internet.tucsonweekly.com
If you write satire just to screw with people and get page-views, you're not just hurting your own image, but you're hurting the public's depiction of the medium you've chosen. For every savvy person out there who realizes that there are people who make things up on the Internet, there are 10 people out there who don't think critically enough about what they're reading to realize that it's bullshit. They screw up the curve for everyone else, causing people to further distrust what they're reading—and not in the "question everything" way, but in the "this is all lies, I have to follow the only folks I can trust" way.tucsonweekly.com
People behind the sites like National Report are the people who are de-legitimizing thought-provoking writing on the Internet, because they're too busy trying to put themselves and their work over to do real, actual good—or at least be entertaining, like The Onion. In other words, the National Report and its ilk are responsible for Fox News.tucsonweekly.com
3. You may think that knowing how to post and share the latest news and photos on social media makes you an expert on the Internet, the truth is it doesn't. And fake & humourless "news" sites like World News Daily Report knows this and utilises in their favour.
Noteworthy for such preposterous headlines as "Dead Cow Brought Back to Life by Lightning" and "Kentucky Man Sentenced to 235,451 Years in Jail," this tabloid-style site emphasizes the "faux" in faux journalism. The disclaimer on the website states: “World News Daily Report is a news and political satire web publication, which may or may not use real names, often in semi-real or mostly fictitious ways. All news articles contained within worldnewsdailyreport.com are fiction, and presumably fake news.”theborneopost.com
Recently, the fake news website stirred Malaysian online forums and some local sites when it claimed that Selangor crown prince Tengku Amir Shah had converted to Catholicism. World News Daily Report is known as a fake news site and carries outrageous headlines such as “Bengali man pregnant with twins” and “Man steals 32 tonnes of bacon” – some of which get routinely picked up by other websites.themalaysianinsider.com
4. Anybody who is anybody on the Internet has come across this infamous "report" about how selfies are a mental disorder by The Adobo Chronicles. A Pinoy based "news" site that specialises in publishing make-belief stories, easily fooling Internet-dwellers.
The Adobo Chronicles is a seemingly well-intentioned, relatively ad-free satirical site. Its sole writer, Rene Astudillo, says he donates the majority of his limited ad revenue to charity. In March, he ran a story claiming the American Psychiatric Association had classified “selfitis”—the taking of selfie photos—as a medical disorder. A solid joke: It was shared more than 10,000 times on Facebook. Less than a week later, Demyx took the article verbatim, cut the overtly comedic final paragraph, and threw it up on their ad-saturated page. They got 18,200 shares.newrepublic.com
5. Fake "news" sites like Empire News and Empire Sports combines good, journalistic-sounding content with a total lack of humour to make gullible readers mistake the supposed "satire" content as real news pieces, at times sending frenzy over Internet
These websites know that most people never even put in the time to read an article, let alone investigate its accuracy, so they design their articles specifically to push our most sensitive buttons. The admins of some of these sites are making $100,000+ a year selling ad space on their sites, and the minimal amount of writing they do is all, quite literally, a bunch of made up shit.thehigherlearning.com
6. Huzlers calls itself "a combination of real shocking news and satire news to keep its visitors in a state of disbelief." Now, if that statement makes any sense to you at all, there's a slim chance you might find this fake news site funny.
7. There seems to be no particular rhyme or reason behind the content on News Hound, which is neither original nor funny, nor does it ever quite rise to the level of satire, but with its persistent leg pulling it unquestionably qualifies as fake news
8. The Onion is probably the only fake news organization that does it best, with well-written articles and even its own astonishingly genuine-looking video broadcasts as the Onion News Network
9. Faking News, a critique of mainstream news media in India, is a news satire website that publishes (occasionally hilarious) fake news reports containing satire on politics and society of India
Did we miss any other significant fake "news" website? Let us know in the comments and we may do another feature.
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PS: Every Sunday, the SAYS Content Team does a Fact or Fake column where we verify the authenticity of most viral hoaxes and myths circulating on the Internet. Click here to read all our FACT OR FAKE stories till date.