Harvard University shared a list of fake websites, which includes conservative media websites.
Melissa Zimdars, assistant professor at Merrimack college, compiled a list of unreliable websites which included clickbait, fake news, conspiracy, sensationalism and was mostly conservative news websites. Harvard university shared the list to educate the students about fake sources and click bait, but the problem was that many of the websites were NOT fake news. It was a list that was extremely inaccurate.
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The Internet is full of fake websites and clickbait, but it's not always a conservative or right wing affiliated website. It's a huge mix of both political parties and most of the people running fake news websites don't even care about politics. They saw an opportunity to take advantage of the 2016 election. The people running these websites saw how gullible people were on Facebook. They made these sites simply to get clicks to their ads and it has caused chaos for the people who run legitimate websites.
It is important to educate the students to be aware of the fake ones. This document by Melissa includes the warnings and tips to avoid the unreliable sources on the Internet. It is important to verify the source of any site before believing the facts it state and to make the students well aware of the ways to differentiate between true and false.
This incident gained so much controversy because the list has many of the reliable websites in it. Some of the websites are being marked as fake while they are genuine websites working as the conservative news blogs.
Harvard University recently created a research guide on “fake news” that identifies dozens of respectable conservative websites as “unreliable” or simply “fake” while rating many of their liberal counterparts as "credible."
Harvard’s new research guide, called “Fake News, Misinformation, and Propaganda,” encourages students to acquaint themselves with a “huge list of fake news sites,” many of which are legitimately deceptive, but others of which are merely conservative or libertarian-leaning.
But Melissa released the document with the note that this document only to be used to teach the students. At the end she also wrote a disclaimer that the document reflect the opinion of the author. She marked the websites with a tags like; Fake, conspiracy, unknown, bias, clickbait, conspiracy, unreliable e.t.c.
All of the contents in this document reflect the opinion of the author(s) and are for educational purposes only.
This document should be used to make people aware of the possibilities so that students read and judge the contents of the websites before they share it with others. They need to be aware of the authors using the attention of the readers with wrong intentions. Although, some of the genuine sites got dragged in the documents but the intention of the documents is authentic.
On social media most people are running fake websites and click baits to earn a share of profit through advertisements. It turns out to be a headache to spot the spamming sites from the legit ones. The legit sites have to pay the price as they don't get heard because of the spamming sites. Some sites work out very hard on the presentation of their opinion.
It is common that people spam other sites just because they don't agree with their opinion. Most of the websites with the genuine content never get heard because of other websites which spreads fake content. This not only ruins the intent of the genuine authors but also confuses the readers to spot the real sites from fake ones.
This is a genuine approach to publish guidelines to help readers spot fake websites. To read the intentions of the author is important before believing the content. While most of the authors write the content with their own opinion. Bending the value of the content to get to more readers is unethical. Readers should boycott the websites and content that runs on fake content.
The step that Melissa took by making this document is a great beginning to view a step towards spotting real content on the sites, but her document is opinionated and has a LOT of inaccurate websites listed categorized incorrectly.
Her attempt to educate people on which news sites are fake has failed miserably due to her bias that prompted her to place original and legitimate websites on the list.
It seems like she mainly targeted websites with conservative views but didn't bother to differentiate the reliable news websites that have been around for ages who offer a mixture of facts and opinions.
It's a good idea to create lists of fake news sites, but we should be more careful so we don't incorrectly categorize someone's business.
Since she included so many trusted websites on her list, her list is essentially fake news.