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HVCC logo and library name

Fake News: URL Checking

A library guide about news hoaxes, misinformation, and propaganda

Check the domain of the URL to Stop Fake News

Always double check the domain name before think before you share to stop fake news you like or share!

Start with a URL and find the Domain
We'll use the URL for the Dwight Marvin Learning Commons http://www.hvcc.edu/learning-commons

anatomy of a URL marvin learning commons

  • Everything that occurs before the last dot . is the second level domain (SLD), everything that occurs after the last dot . is the top level domain (TLD)
  • In this example, www and hvcc are part of the second level domain and edu is the top level domain
  • Well-known TLDs are .edu, .gov, .org, and .com

Now let's examine the domain part of the URL

learning commons example of a domain in a url

Let's forget about the protocol and path and focus on the domain [underlined in green in the example]

  • Everything before the last dot . in the domain is the second level domain (SLD) [yellow in example]
  • The top level domain (TLD) [orange in example] comes after the last dot . in the domain

Now lets look at the domain of a well-known news company's website compared to an imitation fake news website's domain

Domain of a REAL News Website

real news domain name example

  • .com is the top level domain (TLD) of this real news site

Domain of a FAKE News Website

The fake news site tries to be tricky with .com.co, but the .com is really just part of the second level domain

  • .co is the top level domain (TLD) of this fake news site
    • Remember everything before the last dot . in the domain is part of the SLD!

If you can distinguish between the SLD and TLD it will be a breeze spotting fake news and hoax sites!

More Fake News Examples with Intentionally Misleading Domains

Additional Information on URLs & Domains