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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 - social, political, religious, tourism and more

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.

This page contains examples of historical, social, academic, religious, travel/tourism and political subjects, among others.scientific and commercial sites. There is another page that looks at examples in the area of scientific and commercial spoof or fake websites.


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+

We want your soul
Sell your soul (they'll give you a quote) and be happy. It should be obvious to everyone this is a parody site, but you never know.
Type: Religious
Credibility? 2/10
Child safe? Yes

Political

The Hitler Historical Museum
Something of an exception, since I don't believe that this website regards itself as a spoof or fake site. Proceed with extreme caution with this one.
Type: Political
Credibility? 10/10
Child safe? 16+

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

Christopher Walken for President 2008
Very nicely done, and quite understated, which given the subject matter, makes it look better.
Type: Political
Credibility? 8/10
Childsafe? 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

South Lake Michigan Whale Watching
Another site that requires a knowledge of the locality to realise how silly the idea is. Otherwise it does seem quite plausible. Main problem is that it's not updated.
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

Sellafield Zoo
The website of a zoo close to the nuclear power station. A reasonable parody site, relying on doctored photographs of animals to make their point, although some links give the game away.
Type: Travel/Tourism
Credibility? 5/10
Child safe?14+

Britain for Americans
A travel guide for Americans visiting Britain, playing on stereotypes. It could possibly fool some people who had little/no experience of Britain or the British, but more of a parody site than anything else.
Type: Travel/Tourism
Credibility? 4/10
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

Sellafield Zoo
This is a site to illustrate what happens to zoo animals when they are kept on land used by a nuclear power plant.
Type: Travel/Tourism
Credibility? 7/10
Child Safe? Teenage - some of the images of animals with mutations may disturb younger children.

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+

California's velcro crop
Appears very academic, although very brief.
Type: Academic
Credibility? 7/10
Child safe? Yes

The "facts about" series
Clearly a spoof site, given away by the URL.
Type: Educational
Credibility? 2/10
Child safe? Yes

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

Llanelliscar
Spoof newspaper, which is fairly obvious.
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
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