Unreliable Sources / Reliability Research

Tools and datasets for identifying unreliable news sources, for researchers, reporters, and readers.

Iffy.news houses tools for mis/disinfo research:

Latest Reliability Research

USA Map, states colored by vaccination percentage (2021-06)

Vax vs. Vote

A side-by-side, state-by-state comparison showing vaccination rates closely correlated with Biden-vote percentages.

Fantasy illustration of pizzagate conspiracy, by David Dees

The United States of Conspiracy

Americans will believe almost anything. Two decades of polling prove that. No matter how insane the claim, at least 10% and up to 40% of people will say it’s true.

Faroese fishing hooks (1898): Snatch hook and Cod hook with tin bait

Mainstream media funds fake news

When debunkers link to fake-news stories, they do more harm than good. There’s a right way and wrong way to cite unreliable sources. Most publishers use the latter.

Mask-wearing citizens in Mill Valley California (1918-11-03), one with a reading 'Wear a mask or go to jail.'

Congress’ COVID-Positive Party

When debunkers link to fake-news stories, they do more harm than good. There’s a right way and wrong way to cite unreliable sources. Most publishers use the latter.

William Jennings Bryan campaign poster, "Shall the People Rule?" (circa 1900)

PolitiFact: Pols, Pundits, and Pant Fires

This last of a three-parter compares the PolitiFact credibility of groups making political claims. The most truthful: comedians. The least: social media.

William Jennings Bryan campaign poster, "Shall the People Rule?" (circa 1900)

PolitiFact: All the Presidents’ Peeps

Part two of the series, that turns PolitiFact-checks into credibility scores, calculates the truth ratings of people in the past three presidential administrations.

William Jennings Bryan campaign poster, "Shall the People Rule?" (circa 1900)

PolitiFact: Voters Face Facts

Using PolitiFact-checks, we can compare the credibility of candidates and determine, from past elections, if voters tend to pick the more truthful candidate.

Ghostbusters slime ghost in pink, with newspapers in its belly

Your State’s Been Pink-Slimed

Tracking cross-country plink-slime sites that masquerade as local news, with an interactive USA map and a Slime by State table.

Big brand ads next to COVID conspiracy articles on fake-news sites

Who Funds Fake News?

Fake news is a for-profit business, funded mostly by advertising, with revenue flowing from the biggest brands and adtech agencies into the coffers of clickbait, hate, and mis/disinfo sites.

Bloomberg News ad on fake-news Gateway Pundit article

Brands Behaving Badly

Millions in ad dollars are helping spread COVID conspiracies, mostly without the the advertiser’s knowledge.

Bullshit meter (parody of audio volume meter)

Bias vs. B.S.

Bias doesn’t get a publisher into Iffy.news, only bullshit does. Iffy is blind to bias. However, when bias becomes B.S., data can help determine which direction bias most often turns.

Iffy Index of Unreliable Sources

Misinformation thrives online, propped up by advertising dollars, political donations, and social media shares.

In scores of studies, researchers have tried to figure out how falsehoods spread. Their research often relies on lists of fake-news sources. However, those lists are out-of-date and full of 404s.

Better data means better results, for researchers, reporters, and readers. So I’ve built a better dataset:

The Iffy Index of Unreliable Sources is a resource for researchers needing a database of untrustworthy online sources, based on factual-reporting ratings by Media Bias/Fact Check, the professional news/info website reviewer.

The full Iffy index has data on 460 sites that regularly publish unreliable information, including clickbait, fake news, and unproven allegations. The table below lists a few of those Iffy sites, the ones with the most web traffic (by Alexa Global Rank).

Most-visited unreliable sources

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For each site, the factual-level (“low”, “very-low”) links to its MBFC site review. The arrow (Arrow: link to fack-check search) links to fact-checks of its articles. The “W” links to its Wikipedia article (if one exists).

The Iffy.news Index has details on each domain and the methodology used to interpret the data. To assess the credibility of a particular site or story, try the Fact-check Search tool.

Media Bias/Fact Check factual-reporting level
MBFC factual-reporting level