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Evaluating Websites: Hoaxes

Learn how to determine which websites will meet the standard for use in college research.


Not everything on the Web is what it seems!
Think before you accept a site at face value.

Ask Yourself:

  • Are there statements that go against common sense?
  • Do you find words that are made up or nonsensical?
  • Do any of the images look like they've been altered?
  • Does the tone seem ironic or satirical?
  • Be careful! Even sites that look official might be fakes.

Hoaxes - The Onion

"The New York Times admitted they made the mistake of treating a fake creation from The Onion as something legitimate. Last week the Times printed an article documenting the history of the squeaky-clean teen magazine Tiger Beat, and included a retrospective of past magazine covers. Unfortunately (or humorously depending on one’s perspective), in the collection they also included a parody cover created by The Onion, which featured President Obama." Matt Schneider




"This comic title is a combination of Citation and Genesis to come up with the new word "Citogenesis", which means the genesis of a citation in Wikipedia.  As you can see, in the graph in Step 4, this can create a lot of misinformation, even outside of Wikipedia." via 

The Last American Pirate

Teaching by Lying: Professor Unveils 'Last Pirate' Hoax

USA Today thought the website The Last American Pirate was so good that they linked to the site from their webpage.  Wikipedia  had a page on it. But the whole project was a hoax. See what the professor had to say about it in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Internet Resources

Internet Hoaxes Launched for April Fools' Gags