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Apr. 6 2010 - 12:54 pm | 230 views | 0 recommendations | 4 comments

Snopes, Can’t Beat Myths

Freedom The Urban Legend

Image by bixentro via Flickr

Don’t miss this profile of the nice folks behind Snopes.com:

The popularity of Snopes — it attracts seven million to eight million unique visitors in an average month — puts the couple in a unique position to evaluate digital society’s attitudes toward accuracy.

After 14 years, they seem to have concluded that people are rather cavalier about the facts.

In a given week, Snopes tries to set the record straight on everything from political smears to old wives’ tales. No, Kenya did not erect a sign welcoming people to the “birthplace of Barack Obama.” No, Wal-Mart did not authorize illegal immigration raids at its stores. No, the Olive Garden restaurant chain did not hand out $500 gift cards to online fans.

The Mikkelsons talk matter-of-factly about why these stories spread the way they do.

“Rumors are a great source of comfort for people,” Mrs. Mikkelson said.

And that’s the rub, isn’t it? People don’t much want to know the truth. They just want a story that amuses them, confirms their biases, or makes the world a more wondrous place.

ALSO: The dark truth about Snopes.com below the fold…


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  1. collapse expand

    I am a huge Snopes fan, and remain astonished that all those people sending ridiculous “factual” emails don’t bother to check there first.
    I used to respond with a link from Snopes debunking their dumb emails but it seemed like such a waste of time — the emails kept coming — that now I just roll my eyes and delete them.

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