Fact-checker Snopes scales back, finding coronavirus “overwhelming”

Apparently, there's just too much fake news.

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The fact-checking organization Snopes has revealed that the company is overwhelmed by the massive amounts of misinformation it has to process, owing to the coronavirus pandemic.

As mainstream outlets such as Vox and Axios have been caught publishing misleading information, the amount of fake news is overwhelming one of the largest fact-checkers.

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What’s more, the company also says that it isn’t in a position to push its employees for more productivity, as the outbreak has already put a strain on them.

“We’re seeing record web traffic as people educate themselves on the coronavirus. It’s given us a buoy to cling to after a decade of sinking advertising revenues in an eroding news industry,” writes Snopes.

“At the same time, we’re seeing scores of people, in a rush to find any comfort, certainty, or hope for a cure, make things worse as they share (sometimes dangerous) misinformation. We are doing everything we can to respond: to get the facts, to amplify voices of credible experts — to reach over the side of our tiny boat and offer a hand.”

Snopes, in a blog post, said that the coronavirus was “overwhelming” and that his team was not able to publish as much content as it previously did. Considering the current situation, the company said it will focus on investing its efforts “only where we think we can have a significant impact.”

“Our industry cannot operate as if this is just another breaking news event. We cannot ask our employees to ramp up productivity at the same time the rest of their lives spin out into more disorientating and distressing states.”

Along with some other actionable advice to prevent misinformation from spreading, Snopes also asked netizens to demand and persuade “companies like Facebook and Google do more right now to shut down harmful misinformation on their platforms,” – but companies such as Facebook have also been having issues dealing with coronavirus content having ended up removing valuable correct information in the process.

Just like the good old days, before there were companies trying to be the arbiter of truth, citizens of the internet will just have to use their own judgment.

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Naga Pramod

Naga Pramod is a computer science major and tech news reporter with a passion for cyber security, networking, and data science. [email protected]