Goodbye "Hoax Alert", Hello "Fact Check"

Analysis

  • by: Maarten Schenk
Goodbye "Hoax Alert", Hello "Fact Check"

Time for a change

Perceptive readers (do we have any other ones?) probably noticed the little red flashes above our fact checking articles have changed this morning. They now read "Fact Check" instead of "Hoax Alert".

This change was long overdue but we finally found the time to make it. For the longest time "Hoax Alert" has been the name of the category in our content management system to which all our fact checking articles were assigned.

But readers were getting confused over why we would be labeling things as hoaxes when they were just about misunderstandings or misinterpretations of things, with no malicious intent by the original publisher.

We feel "Fact Check" is a much more accurate description for these articles.

So, where did "Hoax Alert" even come from?

As you can read on our "about" page, Lead Stories originally started as a website that reported on what was currently the most viral content on the Internet. Why was it viral? Where did it come from? Was it being reported on correctly by the media?

Just like many other news websites we had several categories set up in those day, like Sports, Politics, Tech, Entertainment...

Sometimes we would also notice false stories going viral. For those stories we created the special "Hoax Alert" category. One of the oldest stories to receive that label was this one from 2015. Since then, many have followed.

Gradually we started reporting on more and more false stories going viral (remember the glory days of Macedonian fake news in 2015 and 2016) and eventually we decided to make that our full-time mission.

Ultimately we abolished all the other categories on our website and from then on we only reported on fake news, misinformation and hoaxes. In the end "Hoax Alert" was simply the last category standing so to speak, and it became the default one for all our fact checks.

But now it is time to retire the name and to replace it with the much more descriptive "Fact Check". We hope you like it!


  Maarten Schenk

Lead Stories co-founder 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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Lead Stories is a fact checking website that is always looking for the latest false, deceptive or inaccurate stories (or media) making the rounds on the internet.
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