Snopes pulls out of Facebook’s fact-checking program

Snopes pulls out of Facebook's fact checking program

If you’ve been on the internet for any length of time you’ve probably encountered the fact-checking site Snopes.com. Snopes has been an internet vanguard for over 20 years as a resource people can use to determine whether or not the latest viral story is true or not. Snopes started back in 1994 as an urban legend debunking site but has evolved over the years to debunking everything from whatever chain email that one annoying friend kept sending you to whatever exaggeration the President has posted to Twitter this week. Due to its extensive research of such subjects, Snopes is well-respected across the internet as the de facto fact-checking source.

In 2016, Snopes was contracted by Facebook to be one of many fact-checking resources used by the social network to try to combat the spread of misinformation Facebook became infamous for during the 2016 Presidential Election. Just a little over two years later, Snopes has left Facebook’s fact-checking initiative. Now, the reason Snopes left depends on who at Snopes you happen to be talking to at the time. The official response has been that it’s not financially viable for Snopes to continue to participate in the program as it’s more expensive to fact-check Facebook than what Facebook is paying Snopes. Another report states that Facebook allegedly doesn’t take fact-checking seriously at all. And a former Snopes employee has said that Facebook is more concerned about using fact-checking to make themselves look good rather than stopping the spread of misinformation.

So which of the reasons for Snopes’ departure from Facebook is the real one? If we had to guess we’d probably say it was a combination of all of them. As Facebook has shown in the past, it seems to be more interested in keeping people engaged on their platform by counting on users’ outrage, not the truth. The truth doesn’t make for a good story that Facebook users will write epic-length rants about leading to more outrage. And when a Snopes link is posted to try to debunk the latest outrage post, it’s usually met with a resounding “What do they know?” If some of the stories are to be believed, Facebook only wants to have the appearance of fact-checking while promoting any incendiary idea that will keep their users engaged through hate and fear.