There is plenty of Fake News out there, and the discerning reader looks to verify the accuracy of a news report before coming to a conclusion. The problem is who do you trust? There are not a lot of websites or newspapers that report unbiased news, preferring to veer off to the hard left or right. The harm to the public is that we really don't know who is telling the truth, and fake news is assumed to be true since we expect that popular media sources are doing their homework to verify the accuracy of news before reporting it.
Shocker - they don't. As a result, fake news slowly becomes part of the collective consciousness. That's why social media is so dangerous. It's often the only news source many look at, and it helps to spread disinformation in such a way that you could argue is rewriting history.
To our credit, most of us are at least taking what we read with a grain of salt. We know that there are two sides to every story and, unless you're one of those on the hard left or right, we try to see things from the other side. That's probably why the fact checking site Snopes.com is so popular. The website claims to be "the internet’s go-to source for discerning what is true and what is total nonsense". They further state on their homepage that "We will not stand by and allow scorched-earth litigation tactics to destroy our newsroom and trample our First Amendment rights".
Those are some very noble statements, but should you trust Snopes? Let's look at the site and see if they are as trustworthy as they claim.
Snopes is taking credit for bringing down a network of Islamophobic social media pages - labeling them as "conspiratorial, overtly Islamophobic content. These pages painted extreme, divisive right-wing rhetoric as having broad American support". We don't know a damn thing about the pages that offended, but Snopes statement alone doesn't sound very First Amendment like. They even admit that Facebook, one of the most liberal and biased pages on the internet, didn't even respond to their request for comment. Is Facebook just staying out of the fight, or was there nothing to see? We will never know since the pages have been taken down.
Who run Snopes? As Daily caller reports, a writer named Kim Lacapria is the websites main political fact checker. Lacapria is open openly left wing, but hey - that's ok if she has the resume to back up her statements right? Here are her credentials from a blog she wrote for called called Inquisitr:
If you're not impressed by her experience in the luxury spa and skincare industry, she has updated her bio on Snopes to add that she is a folklore enthusiast who "never gets tired of unraveling urban legends". She says that when she is not working, she "enjoys air hockey, jjimjilbangs, and casual mermaiding". We are not even sure what that is - but it sounds legit.
Lacapria has been in hot water before. Back during the Obama administration, Kim referred to Tea Party Conservatives as 'Teahadists'. While writing for Inquisitr, she fell victim to the problematic fact checking she accuses the right of: Kim reported that a Costco in Arizona pulled a cake design because a Christian mother complained. That turned out to be as fake a news story as they come, but Kim defended her actions on social media.
Sounds like she is a little biased against the right, but she might be a friend since she is a bit of a conspiracy theorist herself. Lacapria accused the Bush Administration of being “at least guilty of criminal negligence” in the 9/11 attacks. She didn't offer any umm FACTS to back up her opinion though. Even when she does fact check, it's questionable. After the Orlando terror attack, she claimed that Omar Mateen (a registered Democrat) may “have chosen a random political affiliation when he initially registered.”
Snopes and Facebook Will Monitor Fake News
Snopes itself isn't that reliable. As another article points out, when it comes to politics the 'fact checking' site is prone to misrepresentation of facts. In one article, it implied that Ben Carson tried to bill tax payers for a $31,000 dining set. That wasn't entirely true. But that's the way Snopes does things - they don't lie, they imply. At least when it comes to conservative figures and politics. The writers know that with their high profile status as the go to "fact checking site" you'll take their word for it. And most do even if they shouldn't.
We will admit, we have used Snopes to do our own fact checking for a few articles. We wish we had dug deeper given what we have learned about them for this article. Now, we are not convinced that the site is a reliable source of information, at least when it comes to politics. But Snopes seems to be in bed with the right people, making amends with it's liberal leaning friend Facebook.
As if the worlds largest social media site isn't questionable enough, Facebook has partnered with Snopes "to start fact-checking, labeling, and burying fake news and hoaxes in its News Feed". We have already seen the warnings at the bottom of articles in our news feed, which provide a direct link to the Snopes 'fact checking' article that disproves the story. The partnership will use algorithms to monitor the spread of news, and if it's deemed 'fake' prevent it from going viral. The problem is - does Snopes even know a real story? We are not convinced anymore.