AP Launches Listing of Viral Fake News Headlines of the Week

Coming on the heels of Donald Trump launching a new so-called 'real news' online TV network with his daughter-in-law to list his achievements, the Associated Press (AP) has launched a weekly listing of fake news stories that have gone viral, “Not Real News: A look at what didn’t happen this week.


AP Listing Viral Fake News Stories


According to Amy Westfeldt, a manager at the AP Nerve Center who oversees the feature, the nonprofit news agency headquartered in New York City has several ways to track popular but false stories, including using in-house metrics tools like NewsWhip.

“We are working closely with Facebook to identify stories that are being flagged on its network as false or shared widely,” Westfeldt told NiemanLab.org in an interview. “Sometimes a bureau will point out an item that bubbled up on a reporter’s beat and we’ll find them that way.”

Westfeldt adds the AP searches for stories that are getting traction, which meet their standards for fact-checking, and which they perceive might be more easily believed or misconstrued.


Fighting Fake News, Misinformation, Partisan Content


Fake news, misinformation, partisan content, and false reporting on data continues to persist and is cited as a contributor to the division and hate being witnessed in society today. Our reporting on this phenomenon has shown many sites produce false news mostly for financial gain. People are lured to this type of bogus content because it confirms our biases.

“{Fake news} is literally designed to show us what we want to see, to confirm our biases, and to keep us clicking at all cost. It fundamentally breaks the news," says Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, who also joined the fight against so called fake news with the launch of his Wikitribune website." Wikitribune brings journalists and volunteer fact checkers together to stop the spread of false news stories.

The AP said it does not share original links to the listings of fake news for many reasons, including the fact that there are dozens of versions of the pieces moving on sites. It does, however, share a brief of the available FACTS surrounding the false stories in question.

Samples of AP’s listing of most popular, but completely untrue headlines that didn’t happen this week: “NOT REAL: Charlottesville Killer Was Hillary Supporter, Funded By Soros,” “NOT REAL: President Trump Fires All 14 Muslim Federal Judges,” and “NOT REAL: What Adam Sandler is Saying About Mormons.”

“The fact-checking/debunking effort fulfills our mission to refute widely shared falsehoods,” said Westfeldt.

See Also: Fake News is the News Right Now. Here's How to Spot a Hoax Story on Facebook.


Alexis Davis is a senior staff writer at WebWriterSpotlight.com. She covers social media and other digital media news affecting creative writers and online entrepreneurs.