An Index of Unreliable News Sites

The fin de siècle ("end of century") newspaper proprietor (1894) by Frederick Burr Opper
The fin de siècle (“end of century”) newspaper proprietor, 1894 Frederick Burr Opper

It’s amazing (and kind of terrifying) how easy it is to spread baseless rumors.


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

In scores of studies, researchers have tryed 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 However, those lists are out-of-date and full of 404s.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 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 388 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 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