Judge websites, social media platforms and your friends who rely on this flagrantly unethical site as authority accordingly.
For some reason there has been an outbreak of tips to Ethics Alarms involving the usual Snopes stunts, including its factchecking the conservative satire site, the Babylon Bee. Reader Pennagain reminded me of this classic though, which nicely sums up Snopes in a concise, stinky package.
The Snopes question it supposedly examined (but didn’t) in a 2018 “FactCheck” has resurfaced because there is a new podcast about the Banks tragedy. (I can tell when Banks’ story is attracting attention again when the EA post about Wanetta Gibson starts picking up traffic.)
Here’s the rest of that “factcheck”:
Snopes pulls this bait and switch trick a lot. The answer to linkbait question ‘Was Banks wrongly convicted of rape?” is “Yes”, and any assertion to that effect isn’t “mostly true,” it’s absolutely, 100% true. Beneath the question that heads the “inquiry,” Snopes significantly rephrases the “claim” which it then “debunks” by giving us the breathless revelations that Gibson didn’t recant ON Facebook, she contacted Banks through Facebook and then confessed in person, and that Banks “only” served 5 years and two months, not “six.”
Those are what we would call in law non-material misrepresentations. Does either have any bearing on Banks’ innocence? No. Does either raise doubts about the answer to the headlined query, “Was Football Star Brian Banks Wrongfully Convicted Of Rape?” No. Who cares, in the context of the harm done to Banks by a vicious, venal woman who falsely accused him of rape so she and her mother could sue her high school and collect damages, exactly how she recanted, or what the exact amount of time was that Banks spent in prison? Nobody. Snopes’ piece muddies the story rather than clarifying it by leaving the impression that is a controversy. There isn’t.
Why would the site publish such crap? Because that’s what Snopes does, frankly. Yet people and organizations that have no excuse for not realizing how untrustworthy and unprofessional this site is continue to rely on it.