If you’re a Facebook user or have searched for news stories through Google, you’ve come across Snopes.
Snopes is supposed to be a website that fact checks news stories to let you know if they are true or false stories. Because truth be told, there are many false, made-up stories out there…just watch CNN if you don’t believe me.
Last week, a cartoon was uploaded to YouTube by the channel FreedomToons which mocks the website and their fact-checking abilities.
The reasoning behind the release of the cartoon is due to Snopes working to “fact check” news stories from the Babylon Bee and have them censored and/or shut down.
If you’re not familiar with the Babylon Bee…they are a purely satirical website which makes up stories from a Christian angle. Just try and think about the Christian version of The Onion…but better.
Since, July 2016 Snopes has “fact checked” 33 satirical stories from the Babylon Bee.
After one of the more recent fact checks, they released a statement about it:
Last week, Snopes fact-checked us again. We’re pretty used to that. But this time, instead of merely rating the article “false,” they questioned whether our work qualifies as satire, and even went so far as to suggest that we were deliberately deceiving our readers. Basically, they treated us as a source of intentionally misleading fake news, rather than as the legitimate, well-known satire publication that we are. This is a big deal.
As you know, fake news—which is distinguished from satire by its intent to mislead—was widely considered a serious issue in the last election cycle. As a result, social media networks like Facebook began partnering with fact-checkers to try and limit the distribution of fake news on their platforms. Snopes was one of them. At one point, a piece of ours was rated “false” by Snopes, prompting Facebook to threaten us with limitations and demonetization. We made a stink about this, and after some media attention shed light on the problem, Facebook apologized for their handling of the matter and admitted that satire is not the same as fake news.
We came out on top last time, but this latest smear from Snopes is both dishonest and disconcerting. We have no choice but to take it very seriously. For better or worse, the media, the public, and social networks all look to Snopes for authoritative answers. By lumping us in with fake news and questioning whether we really qualify as satire, Snopes appears to be actively engaged in an effort to discredit and deplatform us.