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San Diego-Based Snopes To Help Curb Spread Of Fake News On Facebook

The homepage of is pictured, Dec. 28, 2016.
The homepage of is pictured, Dec. 28, 2016.

San Diego-Based Snopes To Help Curb Spread Of Fake News On Facebook
San Diego-Based Snopes To Help Curb Spread Of Fake News On Facebook GUEST: Brooke Binkowski, managing editor, Snopes

The issue of fake news on the Internet has gone viral in the aftermath of this year's presidential election. Critics have been the case that accommodation of biased missed information and a gullible cup -- public is threatening the legitimacy of fact-based reporting. Website once debunking urban legends is stepping forward into the FactCheck universe. Have been tapped by Facebook to start checking questionable links. The managing editor is journalist Brooke Binkowski who has reported for many media outlets including here and she joins me now. Welcome. It's think -- thank you so much it's great to be here. How is this relationship with basic going to work? They sent us lists of links that they have flagged as potentially iffy and if it's something we have already debunked we send them a link to our debunking. It is basically what we have been doing for I don't know how long -- 20 years? I suppose not 20 years but definitely the last 10 or so. If you find out that the information is wrong and send it back to Facebook what do they do? I just saw this for the first time and it wasn't even asked. There been a few partnerships there's been Snopes Associated Press ABC news and pull a fact so just yesterday I saw something that said this contact -- content has been flagged as questionable a Associated Press. I thought that's a really good way to do it. It put it up in bold letters and it was unmistakably flagged but I can click on it anyway. It was kind of like this is what we've been seeing that is questionable. We weren't sure for a while I'm not privy to what is going on in the negotiations. I guess Facebook I suppose agreement I don't even know if there was a negotiation process because there's no money involved or anything like that but it does not seem to have changed. Can you give us an example the type of fake news stories you've been exposing at Snopes? While today there was one that we debunked that Russians have landed on Saturn. One of my favorite things to do is provide completely Ernest answers to ridiculous questions like did Russians land on Saturn. So we are currently talking to NASA JPL and trying to get people to talk to us about why it would be impossible with current technology to cruise around on Saturn. I feel like that makes it fun and and -- interesting and entertaining way. We do a lot of political stuff because there is so much stuff being flown around Does most of it originate in the same place -- and talk about political stuff now It seems to originate from all over. People suddenly realize en masse that they could make a very cheap website that looked official. And only needs to be a kind of basic mockup it would take 10 minutes you just copy the template from CNN or something like that and make things shocking sounding enough that they get clicked on and then he just cleanup and advertising money and it may not be enough to keep a radio station is up but if you are two people living in a house in Long Beach like to of the guys that got profile doing fake news you're making $10,000 a month or $30,000 a month and people just eat it up. They have been doing this kind of stuff for years and it's a common tactic and playbook and is coming from outside. Of course there is the partisan websites because they have an ideological bent and I'm sure that interest is also ideological. It must make Snopes a prime target for smears. We get smeared all the time. I know because I have spent my whole life being this person to be around people who go actually you are wrong. I realize that but it's a little bit late for me to change who I am but being annoying is not a good reason for the kind of hate we are getting so I assume they are doing something right because yes we have been targeted in smear campaigns a lot especially since the Facebook announcement. One of the criticisms that comes up is that this is a left-wing conspiracy that Snopes is funded by liberal organizations. Is that true Know that is so enduring. People really hate George Doris. I have had photos of him sent to me with had to debunk a few things about him. He does not fund us at all. I do know that he funds some journalistic endeavors that are very good and I know some of those fellows in a told me that they never get targeted or cut up in smear campaigns or anything. The open society's fellowship -- I'm focusing on him because he's a when I get accused of being flooded by the most but we are not funded by anybody I think that's a good thing I'm pretty eternally optimistic but it says that are out there not very intrusive so that is good. We are not a left-wing conspiracy whatever that is we have people all across the board politically on our staff. Considering the claimant of how easily the people are being deceived by different sources -- news stories that have no foundation whatsoever is there any reason to think that in fact checking is going to be believed any more than the fake news? There has been a interesting tautological attempt to discredit a slightly and is Snopes is fake news and that's it because people keep throwing that out us as though it will stick. When that kind of simplistic thought is taking over realize we cannot do this kind of thing alone and I have this ask I have been grounded for months now -- years really. It is that you cannot fight propaganda and fake news on a one-to-one basis. You cannot go around fact checking everything because he will just end up wasting your time and being frustrated by what you can do is flooded out with actual reported news. Ax to grind is funded newsrooms locally and nationally staff more reporters put more money into it -- maybe news is a loss leader maybe that's the case but it's also a public service sector -- start treating it as such if not I will create an informational void and people will start going around powered by emotion which is what we are seeing right now. I have been speaking with the managing editor of smoke -- Brooke Binkowski thank you so much.

The fact-checking website Snopes is one of five organizations that will be working with Facebook to help curb the spread of fake news on the social media site.


Facebook users will be able to report fake news. If enough people report a story as fake it will be sent to the participating organizations. Stories deemed as fake by the organizations will be flagged as "disputed" and will appear lower in people's news feeds. People will also get a warning before they share a "disputed" story.

Other participating organizations include ABC News, The Associated Press, and Politifact. Facebook said the group is expected to expand.

Snopes has offices in San Diego. The site's managing editor, Brooke Binkowski, is also based in San Diego.

Binkowski joined KPBS Midday Edition Wednesday to talk about the fact-checking website and its new partnership with Facebook.

Corrected: March 23, 2023 at 9:37 PM PDT
The Associated Press contributed to this report.