Just Because It's Trending Doesn't Mean It's True
Hoax Alert

Newborn Fake News Websites Replace Recently Shut Down Ones Within Days

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Mon, 08 Jan 2018 13:21:55 Z)

Fascinating to observe it happening "in the wild" and almost live. Last friday the fake news website conservativedaily.info was still happily posting fake news stories (including one that we debunked earlier about the renaming of the President Barack Obama Highway) when suddenly the lights went out and all links to the site started returning "403 Forbidden" errors.

At the same time therealconservative.info, thebreakingnews.today and apparently clubsocial-ny.com also went down, all hosted at the same IP address (74.208.236.2) as conservativedaily.info, with similar error messages. The IP seems to be owned by hosting company 1&1 Internet Inc.. So it looks like someone's hosting account got hosed, probably for posting fake news or violating terms of service in some manner.

However shortly afterwards three new sites popped up on our radar screen:

All three use the exact same Google Adsense account (ca-pub-2770693145334899) as conservativedaily.info. From Google searches it looks like theconservativeonline.info has been posting for quite some time but donaldtrumpdaily and conservativeonline.net are so new you can still smell the paint:

conservativeonlinenet.jpg

And so the cycle continues: as older fake news sites die they get replaced almost immediately with new ones, frequently copying the entire archive of stories from the sites that went down. And "older" may be overstating the case: conservativedaily.info was only registered on october 26th 2017 itself, giving the site an active life of just over two months.

P.S.: In case you were wondering how we were alerted about the old sites disappearing and the new ones popping up, read this earlier article that explains the technology we are using to monitor trending fake news stories and the networks of sites that post them.

About the author:

Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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