This post will be a comparison of fake news pages with real fact-checking sites and how there are differences in their design language (Typography, Images, etc.), the content (Expertise, Rigour, Transparency, Reliability) and the overall usability. It’s hard to find similarities that apply to all the various fake news pages, but this post will try to show the most common ones. Therefore I decided to compare InfoWars with ProPublica and in the next post Global Research with Fact Check.
InfoWars vs. ProPublica
I chose those two pages because both of them are or seem to be news based, journalistic websites. The fist thing most of the users check is the domain. It could be weirdly long, maybe not include s SSL certificate or just plainly weird. In this case both websites seem to have normal looking domains ending with .org (ProPublica) and .com (InfoWars). When taking a closer look you will certainly notice a difference in the web design, advertisment placement and how the content is presented.
First of I want to talk about the adds. ProPublica is almost third party add free, but they ask for donations a lot, while InfoWars has gun industry related or other free-speech newsletter adds. Also, they try selling dietary supplements through Amazon despite being banned from other platforms. They also created their own online shop to sell their products and merchandise.
This might seem just to be because of audience they are clearly approaching: the right wing conservatives (InfoWars), whilst ProPublica tries do debunk hoaxes through thorough research.
The design language of pages is clear and straight. InfoWars uses a sans-serif bold black font for their headlines and. In comparison to ProPublica, which use a serif bold black font for headlines, which is more likely to be associated with news papers and sans-serif for text, because of the readability.
The overall usability of both sites is pretty good and clear. Everything works fine. Both websites follow the common design principles, except that the article design of ProPublica is much clearer and less busy than the one of InfoWars. In the following videos you can see the difference.
After spending some time on InfoWars it becomes clear that their main resource is social media (Screenshots of postings) or other false- and misinformation spreading websites or media channels. Most of the time there is no research behind the claimed statements, it is just plainly personal opinion sold as researched facts. There are no credible sources or the only source given is a book or a podcast of the site owner Alex Jones or some other far-right conspiracy theorists.