College professor says she was 'doxed' for creating list of 'false, misleading, clickbait-y' sites

A college professor in Massachusetts has compiled a list of more than 100 "news" sites that she's identified as "false, misleading, clickbait-y … or satirical" in a public list that has since gone viral, but she has since stopped adding to the list, according to The Daily Dot.

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Melissa Zimdars, an assistant professor of communication and media at Massachusetts' Merrick College, originally compiled the list as a resource for her students.

In all, more than 130 sites populate the list, which can be seen in full in a public Google Doc.

The list, which included some well-known sites, such as the satirical The Onion and the popular conservative news site Breitbart, included news sources that fall under four categories: Sites that capitalize on outrage and are "regularly misleading," sites that circulate "potentially unreliable" information, sites that use "clickbait-y headlines and social media descriptions," and purposefully fake satirical news sites.

In an update to the list, Zimdars said that she typically looks to mainstream news media, along with a mixture of alternative sources "with different political perspectives" to inform herself.

"The problem: Even typically reliable sources, whether mainstream or alternative, corporate or nonprofit, rely on particular media frames to report stories and select stories based on different notions of newsworthiness," she wrote. "The best thing to do in our contemporary media environment is to read/watch/listen widely and often, and to be critical of the sources we share and engage with on social media.

In Zimdars' latest update, labelled as "update five," she said, "It should be noted, I'm not the first person to call out some of these websites."

The Daily Dot reported that the Google Doc was deleted, but at the time of this update, the link is still active.

According to The Daily Dot, Zimdars said that she is "currently being doxed/harassed (and indirectly threatened) by readers of some of the websites on the list (as are my colleagues and even one of my students). This kind of activity is *exactly* why those websites were included on my list in the first place, and this kind of activity, largely by the alt-right, will likely be a major roadblock to anyone who is critical of them in the future."

Zimdars said she stopped editing the list "because there are a few different groups working on building different databases for assessing news," which would include ratings, information on the website as a source such as how long it has been around, the publisher of the site and examples of past headlines and stories."

"These will be much more useful to people moving forward and I hope to help make them all happen," she said.

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