Snopes Facebook

snopes-and-facebook-logosSnopes Facebook: a reader asks…

I recently saw on Facebook a notice from someone that we now have to post some legal language in order to protect our status updates from being made public, even the one’s we’ve deleted. the posting starts “Everything you’ve ever posted becomes public from tomorrow….” and goes on for awhile. Someone told me to check Snopes.com to see if it’s real, and they say it’s an old hoax from several years ago that’s continuing to come back up. Should I trust Snopes?

In a word, yes. Snopes.com has been around since 1995 as a great fact-checker against the plethora of hoaxes, scams, and other fairy-tales that go around the internet. It’s one of my go-to sites for checking on the facts. This seems to be getting more and more a requirement anytime you’re presented with information, perhaps due to the sheer volume of fake information rolling around the internet.

misinformation-infographic-image-from-shutterstockAnytime you see information online (even in print these days!), your first thought should be to independently verify whether it’s true or not. So many of us consumers have only one or two sources of information that we pay attention to. And almost always those sources are no longer objective – whether they are television news shows, newspapers or online sources. In particular, I see a huge increase in the type of stories that mix in a little bit of fact with a load of utter nonsense. It can be very hard to distinguish the actual facts with the fake facts, suppositions and conclusions drawn by the biased reporting source. This is not just a conservative or liberal, or US or foreign, or any specific issue or group, it’s permeated just about everywhere. Even our mainstream news media is tainted (my opinion, of course) by the need to generate interest. So ho-hum stories are reported as exciting news with the most interesting slant possible in order to gain and keep your attention, at least long enough to watch the commercials. It’s often disgusting imo.

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snopes-logoFortunately, online places like Snopes.com exist to help us fact-check those sources. Other great sources of fact-checking include

  1. FactCheck.Org & PolitiFact.com (for political fact-checking)
  2. OpenSecrets.Org (for government secrets fact-checking)
  3. TruthorFiction.com and HoaxSlayer.com (for email and social media fact-checking)

I used to count WikiLeaks as a good source of the unvarnished truth, but can’t any longer as I see all too often that leaks feed into a political agenda, and suspect that the leaks are now mixing fact with fiction. I continue to monitor my fact-checking resources and if I suspect any of the sources above of doing likewise, I’ll adjust my list accordingly.

If you only get your news from one source (Fox [Fake] News Network, I’m looking at’cha), then you are definitely seeing an extremely slanted view of things. In addition to checking facts against the above sources, I highly recommend everyone start using multiple news sources on a regular basis (news aggregators like FlipBoard are great at this). The same story can be so drastically different from one reporter to another that it only takes a little bit of comparison reading or viewing to realize that even hard news journalists are all biased. No one news source will ever give you the real, unvarnished truth anymore. Of course, I’m basing that opinion (no, I can’t call it a fact) on my subjective viewpoint. So yes, even I am biased, but at least I’m admitting that!

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