Keeping tabs on the jokers

satireUsers of the Likeable Engine will note we often add new sites to the index. This happens as we become aware of major publishers we have left out for no good reason, or more rarely as new sites gain readers and impetus.

Likeable now indexes stories on 122 legitimate news sources. A technical refresher: that means we go to the home pages of those sites and scrape the page for story URLs. We then pop those addresses in a database and ping social network APIs at regular intervals to see how sharing is going. That is the data that makes up the “sharing curves” of the stories Likeable spits out in its Top 100 table.

As well as making a daily Top 100, we retain all the data to pore over at our leisure. That way we can find deeper trends.

One of the trends our initial data set was missing was the move towards untruth. It wasn’t really even on our radar – some of the most shared stories around the world were complete horseshit. These fictitious stories were not emerging from within the 122 legitimate publishers, but instead were coming from what we have charitably termed “satire” sites.

When we became aware of the numbers, and the fact that many people were sharing these articles believing them to be true, we added 12 sites to Likeable. These are the dirty dozen:

The satire sites are not included in the Top 100 by default. If you want to put them in there alongside factual content, go to the “Select Sites” drop down and hit “Check all”. Then hit the big button “Filter” which is all the way across the page on the right (user interface, who needs it?) If you only want to see the satire sites, click the “Satire” button and the page auto-refreshes.

We are monitoring the list – for example, we have just added National Report alumni and famed Banksy hoaxer Paul Horner’s new site News Examiner. That will appear in a few days as Likeable protocol brings it online.

Now why did I say “charitably”? Some of the Satire sites are clearly that: The Onion for example, is not hoping that anyone will think its stories are real. Other “Satire” sites, such as National Report, are murkier. We recommend you stay across the Likeable data and check it out for yourself.

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Hal Crawford

About Hal Crawford

Hal Crawford is ninemsn's Editor-in-Chief. He began his career at The West Australian newspaper and has taught journalism at La Trobe University in Melbourne. Twitter: @halcrawford

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