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Fake News: Types of Fake News

Politifact has dentifies 3 types of fake news:

  • Parody or Joke Sites: Many of the deliberately false or fake news stories we see in social media feeds begin on websites that attempt to parody real news. It can be difficult to parse what the aims of these parody sites may be. They could be writing stories purely for entertainment, or they may be trolling a particular set of voters. These websites may or may not make it clear on individual links that their stories are fake, but will almost always say in a disclaimer somewhere on their site that their content is exaggerated or fictional.
  • News Impostor SitesSeveral websites appear to try to confuse readers into thinking they are the online outlets of traditional or mainstream media sources. These sites attempt to trick readers into thinking they are newspapers or radio or television stations. Like many other fake news sites, it’s very difficult to see who owns them, thanks to private registrations.
  • Fake News Sites: There's little consistency of content or style among fake news sites — the common thread appears to be that they distribute fabricated content, but the reasons aren’t always apparent. Almost all of them share or reblog a good deal of content from other sites, either with or without attribution, and much of it is from the sites in the first two categories. They also can potentially create their own false stories, or distribute larger conspiracy theories.


Claire Wardle of First Draft News identifies seven types of fake news:

  • Satire or Parody: no intention to cause harm but has potential to fool
  • False Connection: when headlines, visuals of captions don't support the content
  • Misleading Content: misleading use of information to frame an issue or an individual
  • False Content: when genuine content is shared with false contextual information
  • Imposter Content: when genuine sources are impersonated with false, made-up sources
  • Manipulated Content: when genuine information or imagery is manipulated to deceive, as with a doctored photo
  • Fabricated Content: new content is 100% false, designed to deceive and do harm