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Fake websites or spoof websites. Examples of false sites to aid in evaluating internet resources

Introduction to fake websites

Librarians and educators need to be able to illustrate to students and users alike that websites cannot always be trusted to provide truthful and accurate data. This page provides examples of websites that are full of lies, inaccuracies or false information - either for amusement or for more worrying reasons. The list does not include phishing sites however; these are intended to fool a person into believing that they are visiting a legitimate bank site for example; there are already plenty of links to these online already.


Fake websites - scientific and commercial


All of the following websites are, to the best of my knowledge fake sites, spoof sites or parodies of 'real' sites. This is by no means a complete collection, nor should it be regarded as definitive. I have tried when possible to indicate if the site is suitable for minors, or if it contains material which viewers may find offensive. However, it is your responsibility to gauge the appropriateness or otherwise of the sites yourself, particularly if you intend to use them for educational purposes.


Sites are arranged in subject groupings, with what I consider to be the most credible examples at the top; hopefully this will help when you come to choose examples for yourself or students. If you find any that no longer exist, or you have other examples, please email me.

This page contains examples of scientific and commercial sites. There is a second fake or spoof page that looks at examples in the area of Historical, social, academic, religious, travel/tourism and politics, among others. If you are concerned about your children, you may wish to consider ensuring child internet safety software for their welfare.


Please note however that I cannot tell you if a site is a fake or spoof site. Please do not ask me to arbitrate on your behalf. Please do not email me and ask me to tell you if a site is fake.


Social


Dog Island

An island where dogs are free to roam and bark and play all day long. Think dog sanctuary and you're there. Contains photographs, a rate card and many other resources.

Type: Social

Credibility? 10/10

Child safe? Yes


Mothers Against Videogame Addiction and Violence

Very good indeed; the background to the site is very informative.

Type: Social

Credibility? 10/10

Child safe? Yes


Coalition to end female mammary mutilation

A site that supposedly campaigns against cosmetic breast enlargement. It could so easily be true.

Type: Social

Credibility? 6/10

Child safe? 16+


Coalition to Promote the Use of Child Soldiers

Rather sparse and not very professional.

Type: Social

Credibility? 5/10

Child safe? Yes


Federal Vampire and Zombie Agency

Clearly nonsensical, but the question is - do these people really believe in what they're saying, and are just nuts, or are they creating a spoof site and they know it?

Type: Social

Credibility? 2/10

Child safe? Yes


Police Guide FBI Records Search

Very professional looking, requiring the user to input some personal data such as age, name and so on. The spoof nature becomes clear on the final screen.

Type: Social

Credibility? 2/10

Child Safe? Yes


Clubbo

50 years of music to believe in. Looks very plausible.

Type: Social

Credibility? 8/10

Childsafe? Yes


Babybush Toys

Toys for not very clever children. Very well done.

Type: Social

Credibility? 6/10

Childsafe? Yes


Historical


History of a Victorian Robot.

The site purports to be a history of a robot designed and built in the Victorian era. It contains photographs and is quite charming.

Type: Historical

Credibility? 8/10

Child safe? Yes


History House

Self styled irreverent history magazine, which gives the game away, but if that's not noticed, it's quite believable and could easily fool students.

Type: Historical

Credibility? 6/10

Child safe? Yes


Neil Armstrong - The awful truth

A video parody of what Armstrong may have said on landing on the moon. ("I'm on the f***ing moon!")

Type: Historical

Credibility? 1/10

Child safe? 16+ due to the language used


Religious


Landover Baptists

Supposedly from an extreme right wing fundamentalist American Christian group. Extremely well done, slick and professional.

Type: Religious

Credibility? 10/10

Child safe? 16+


Absolution Online

Confess your sins and be absolved. On the one hand this appears to be an obvious joke site, but on the other hand, there is a lot more strange stuff than this out there. I don't know if it's supposed to be a spoof site or not. Which makes it very good I guess!

Type: Religious

Credibility? 10/10

Child safe? 16+


Political


World Trade Organisation Spoof

Uses a believable URL and looks exactly like the real WTO website. Only the headlines and content give this away slightly.

Type: Political

Credibility? 9/10

Child safe? Yes


Preparing for Emergencies

This is a parody of the official British Govt. site that used to exist, and best displayed in conjunction with it. since the parody site gives itself away right at the beginning. Useful for a discussion on URLs however.

Type: Political

Credibility? 3/10

Child safe? Yes


The White House

Believable due to the URL, the currency and overall look of the site. However, the parody is obvious, so belief only lasts for a few seconds. Also still has Bush as President.

Type: Political

Credibility? 3/10

Child safe? Yes


Travel and Tourism


The Wingmakers

An astonishing website, claiming to display artifacts found in the Nevada Desert, mixing politics, history and alien beings. Brilliantly done.

Type: Travel/Tourism

Credibility? 11/10

Child safe? Yes


Travel Guides

A very impressive travel agent type site, similar to the 'Rough Guide' series.

Type: Travel/Tourism

Credibility? 8/10

Child safe? Yes


Little Known Attractions of Lynchburg and Central Virginia

If you're unaware of the locality this site could well fool you, although there are various hints early on for those who are sharp eyed.

Type: Travel/Tourism

Credibility? 6/10

Child safe? Yes


The Haggis Hunt

Well put together site, which links to a Facebook group, Twitter account and so on. Very well done.

Type: Travel/Tourism

Credibility? 10/10

Child Safe? Yes


Academic/Educational


Feorran Grammer

An extremely well done academic study of the languages of the Antarctic. Very dense and just what you would expect such a report to look like. The URL helps as well.

Type: Academic

Credibility? 9/10

Child safe? Yes


Martin Luther King Jr. A true historical examination

This is a website produced by a white power organisation and is one of the best/worst examples of a site that is trying to pass itself off as something entirely different. Proceed with caution with this one. Due to the nature of this site, and so as not to give it a higher ranking in Google than it already has, there is NO link to the site. Please search at Google and click on it.

Type: Historical

Credibility? 7/10

Child safe? 16+


The Uncyclopedia

Spoof of the Wikipedia, and very well done.

Type: Reference

Credibility? 8/10

Child Safe? Teenage


News


The Framley Examiner

A local newspaper scanned and put on screen. The newspaper itself is very well done, though clearly a parody after a few moments. Main fault with it however is that it's now rather dated.

Type: News

Credibility? 5/10

Child safe? Yes


The Daily Rash

"All the news that's unfit to print" Amusing, but with some adult content

Type: News

Credibility? 7/10

Child safe? 16+


Isle of Wight News

A satirical look at island life. More satire than spoof or fake, but it's amusing and worth a look

Type: News

Credibility? 3/10

Childsafe? Yes


The Chicago Dope

Never true, always accurate. For Chicago 'news'. Not obvious if you're not from those parts.

Type: News

Credibility? 5/10

Childsafe? Yes