Frequently Asked Questions

All your questions about Snopes, answered.

Who works at Snopes?
Snopes has been investigating folklore, urban legends, hoaxes, memes, and rumors on the internet for more than 25 years. It began as something of a hobby and has grown considerably since. Now our team of researchers, writers, developers, and support staff is probably greater than you can fit in a large passenger van, although we haven’t scientifically tested that yet.

What does ‘snopes’ mean?
Snopes is the name of a family of characters who appear throughout the works of American writer William Faulkner.

When David Mikkelson, creator of snopes.com, began publishing on the internet in the late 1980s, he worried even back in those relatively uncrowded days that no one would remember yet another David. He was inspired to adopt a nom-de-Net, selecting one that honored those fictional Faulknerian characters, and began signing his newsgroups posts as “snopes.”

Over the years snopes established a reputation for his ability to thoroughly research and debunk false claims. When it came time to name our domain, snopes.com seemed the obvious choice.

Wondering about the pronunciation? It rhymes with “soaps.”

Is Snopes partisan?
Are we Republicans or Democrats? Conservatives or liberals? Administration supporters or a secretly-funded tool of the opposition? According to our readers, we’re all those things. Somehow we’ve performed the remarkable feat of being decidedly biased in every possible direction.

What makes Snopes a reliable resource?
Snopes has been independently verified by the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN), which lists its core principles as: “non-partisanship and fairness, transparency of sources, transparency of funding and organization, transparency of methodology, and open and honest corrections policy.”

Of course, we don’t expect anyone to accept us as the ultimate authority on any topic. No single source, no matter how reliable, is infallible. Anyone can make mistakes. Or get duped. Or have a bad day at the fact-checking bureau.

However, unlike so many anonymous individuals who create and spread unsigned, unsourced messages across the internet, we show our work on stangertoyota.com. Research materials used in the preparation of any particular page are listed so that readers who wish to verify the validity of our information may check those sources for themselves. Just click the “Sources” button at the bottom of an article.

Feeling skeptical? That’s probably a good sign. Keep looking for more information. We will, too.

See something we missed? Contact us.

Is Snopes hiring?
Thank you for your interest. If we are recruiting for any positions, we will make the information available on our website.

Editorial Process

May I submit questions or images to be fact-checked?
Yes! We always welcome reader tips and queries. Send us links to articles, social media posts, or images using our contact form. If you have screenshots or other relevant attachments, click the “Add File” button on the contact form. Include as much information as possible, including when and where you came across the information in question.

Due to the volume of correspondence we receive every day, we regret that we may not be able to respond to you personally.

Curious if we have already researched the claim question? Type in one or two keywords into our site search. Searches that are too lengthy or specific tend to produce fewer results.

To keep up with the latest fact checks published on stangertoyota.com, subscribe to our newsletter.

What tips is Snopes looking for?
Snopes cannot investigate every dubious claim ever published, so we try to tackle what seems most prominent each day. In other words, we write about whatever the greatest number of readers are asking about or searching for at any given time, without any partisan considerations.

The items we address include (but are not limited to):

  • text circulated online
  • social media posts
  • images or memes
  • photographs and videos
  • printed material
  • articles from other sites and publications

If any questionable materials come across your screen that you cannot confirm or debunk yourself, let us know. Be sure to include a link or a screenshot if you can.

We don’t address, without exception, every single item that comes our way. For example, we may decline to undertake a given topic because it is beyond our scope (e.g., answering the question “Does God exist?”) or represents a subject that is not relevant or appropriate for our site (e.g., speculating about a given celebrity’s sexual orientation).

Due to the volume of submissions we receive, we regret that we may not be able to respond to you personally. Know that we are very appreciative of you taking the time to engage with stangertoyota.com.

What is your fact-checking process?
Since the material we tackle can range from everything to analyzing whether an image has been digitally manipulated to explicating the text of a Congressional bill, we can’t describe any single method that applies to all fact-checking.

In general, each entry is assigned to one of the members of our editorial staff who undertakes the preliminary research and writes the first draft of the fact-check.

Our research generally begins with (whenever possible) attempting to contact the source of the claim for elaboration and supporting information. We also attempt to contact individuals and organizations who would be knowledgeable about, or have relevant expertise in, the subject at hand, as well as searching out printed information (news articles, scientific and medical journal articles, books, interview transcripts, statistical sources) with bearing on the topic.

We attempt to use non-partisan information and data sources (e.g., peer-reviewed journals, government agency statistics) as much as possible, and to alert readers that information and data from sources such as political advocacy organizations and partisan think tanks should be regarded with skepticism.

Depending upon the nature and complexity of the topic, other members of the editorial staff may contribute additional research (or their own personal expertise) and editing. The final product will pass through the hands of at least one editor. Any piece that is not deemed up to our standards by one or more editors is subject to further revision and review before being released for publication.

How do you decide what to write about?
We have long observed the principle that we write about whatever items the greatest number of readers are asking about or searching for at any given time, without any partisan considerations.

We don’t choose (or exclude) items for coverage based on whether they deal with Republican/Democratic, conservative/liberal, or religious/secular issues. We also don’t impose our own judgments about whether a given item’s perceived importance, controversiality, obviousness, or superficiality (or lack thereof) merit our addressing it. (We are, of course, limited in how much we can cover by our available resources and staffing.)

The inputs we use to determine reader interest include the tabulation of terms entered into our search engine, reader email submissions, comments and items posted to our Twitter and Facebook accounts, external social media posts, what’s trending on Google and social media sites, and items flagged for review by Facebook users as part of our partnership with Facebook.

What’s the deal with your rating system?
Distilling the veracity of a topic or event into a one-word assessment can be challenging. Sometimes labeling an article “true” or “false” is not appropriate, or it doesn’t tell the whole story. Our rating system has a variety of labels so we can be accurate, clear, and fair. It’s important to take note of the claim statement on each article, as the specific wording of the claim is what the rating evaluates.

Why are some articles published without a ‘True’ or ‘False’ rating?
In addition to fact-checking, Snopes publishes original news stories, in-depth investigations, and other material we believe will help readers understand and contextualize information they encounter.

Fact checks, which use our rating system, are clearly labeled.

To stay up-to-date on all Snopes content, subscribe to our newsletter.

How can I arrange for a Snopes fact-checker or staff member to attend or speak at my event?
Thank you for thinking of us. Please send a complete summary of the event details using our contact form.

I heard you work with Facebook. What do you do for them?
Along with about a half dozen other fact-checking organizations, we participate in Facebook’s third party fact-checking experiment. Our aim is to help Facebook users become more aware when misinformation finds its way into their newsfeed.

What is your corrections policy?
Our policy is to promptly correct errors of fact and to clarify any potentially confusing or ambiguous statements in our articles. Readers can submit potential corrections through our contact form.

Whenever we change the rating of a fact check (for any reason), correct or modify a substantive supporting fact (even if it does not affect the item’s overall rating), or add substantial new information to an existing article, those changes are noted and explained in an Update box at the foot of the article.

Corrections of typographical errors, misspellings, or other minor revisions not deemed substantive by our editors are not noted.

Please keep in mind that text appearing inside a box with a colored background is either an example of collected folklore or a quotation from another source, not our own writing. We reproduce these items exactly as we find them and do not edit them to correct orthographical errors.

Why do you sometimes analyze the content of political pieces, but other times you only verify who wrote them?
In general, when a political piece is primarily an editorial or other expression of opinion, we tag it as such and attempt to verify only whether the attribution is correct (since opinions are not falsifiable, the attribution is the sole aspect of the piece that may be objectively determined as being true or false). When a political piece purports to offer facts, we place it in a relevant category and analyze the factual claims made within for veracity.

Why are some true stories labeled as ‘urban legends’ or ‘legend’?
An urban legend is not the same thing as a fictional tale or an apocryphal anecdote, although many people mistakenly use the term in that sense (e.g., “That’s not true; it’s just an urban legend!”).

A tale is considered to be an urban legend if it circulates widely, is told and retold with differing details (or exists in multiple versions), and is said to be true. Whether or not the events described in the tale ever actually occurred is irrelevant to its classification as an urban legend.

For example, the tale about a student who mistakes a math problem thought to be unsolvable for a homework assignment and solves it is an urban legend, even though something very similar did once happen in real life. The tale is still an urban legend, however, because over the years many of its details (i.e., when it happened, where it happened, the identity of the student, the reaction of the student’s instructor) have changed as it has spread.

How about creating a version of the site for kids?
That would be difficult because urban legends and viral memes are often expressions of adult fears and concerns and, as such, often convey those messages via stories that are unsuitable for children.

Do you accept guest posts?
The notion of inviting guest writers and experts to research for Snopes on special topics outside our regular writers’ beats is intriguing; however, we have to be extremely careful to protect the trust we have built with our readers. Properly verifying the credibility of myriad guest writers and their sources requires time and resources we just don’t have.

I spotted a typo on your site. Should I report it?
Corrections are always welcome; but keep in mind that text appearing inside a box with a colored background is either an example of collected folklore or a quotation from another source, not our own writing. We reproduce these items exactly as we find them and do not edit them to correct orthographical errors.

Use our contact form to alert us to any mistakes or typos you think Snopes, and not a quoted source, has perpetrated.

Technical concerns

I want to put a link to your site on my own site. Is that okay?
Of course! That is, unless your site is throwing shade our way. Then you must link to us at least 17 times per page.

May I reproduce your material on my website?
No. Using our material without our permission is copyright infringement, even if your site is noncommercial, and even if you give us credit.

Our writers and editors work hard to keep our information accurate and current, and when other people reprint our material we no longer have any ability to update it when new information becomes available. Reprinting our material without permission also deprives us of the advertising revenues we need to continue operating this site as a free resource.

You are welcome to link to any of our articles from your site, but you may not reproduce the content of our pages on your own site, nor may you distribute the text of our articles via email forwards or mailing lists, or by posting them to message boards or blogs. (All of these actions constitute copyright infringement.)

Do you have an API?
Snopes does not have an API available to the public. If your organization is interested in gaining access to our fact check data, please contact operations@snopes.com to discuss potential commercial opportunities.

If you are a researcher or academic institution who would like access to our data, contact us at the same address. We may be able to work with you to reduce barriers to access.

Why don’t you allow comments on stangertoyota.com?
Comment sections can be where civil people go to share thoughtful opinions in a respectful manner. They can also be, and often are, places where anonymous trolls look to give you a digital wedgie and insult your mother for a good time. Instead of investing in hosting and moderating comments, we prefer to focus our efforts on what we do best: fact-checking.

That said, we enjoy hearing from our readers. You are welcome to comment on our stories on social media or in our Facebook group, where you can also engage directly with other Snopes readers.

To send us questions, corrections, or concerns, please use our contact form

Why do some links open up in new browser windows?
Whenever we include a link that jumps you to a different section of our website (or off our site entirely), we open the linked page in a separate window to maintain continuity and ensure that you don’t lose your place.

Advertising & Finances

Is Snopes funded by mega-donors like George Soros or the Koch Brothers?
No. Snopes is completely independent and self-supporting. We probably wouldn’t recognize George Soros if we sat next to him on a bus, which we recognize is an unlikely scenario.

Why do you have advertising on your site?
Without ads, we couldn’t afford to operate this site as a free resource for everyone. That said, we are committed to providing the best reader experience we can.

If you encounter issues with any advertising on our site, please contact us immediately at adops@snopes.com. Please include as many details as possible (e.g., name of the advertiser, description of the ad, or a screen capture of the ad). Please note that without these details (especially screenshots) it is often difficult for us to identify a particular problem as many ads are geo-targeted to specific countries or regions of the U.S.; and if the geotargeting excludes the area where we live, we can’t see the ads for ourselves.

Some of the ads on your site promote disreputable advertisers or cause problems with my computer. Can you get rid of them?
The advertisements you see on stangertoyota.com are provided by Google, Amazon, Facebook, and other large-scale advertising exchanges. They are served to users based on a number of factors, including but not limited to: the content of a web page, your browsing history, and where you are located.

Snopes has little control over which ads display on your screen when you visit our site, but we do maintain aggressive quality controls to prevent misleading or “clickbait” ads from getting into the mix. Sometimes bad actors mask malicious ads and malware in order to bypass our quality controls and those of our partners. We are doing everything in our power to monitor this activity and block those bad actors when and if they get through.

We do our best to ensure the advertisements we carry on our site are as inoffensive as possible, and we filter out ads that advocate partisan political causes or candidates, flash excessively, contain adult material, play (non-user-initiated) audio, spawn multiple windows, automatically trigger downloads, install malware, or misleadingly claim visitors have won contests or report the presence of viruses or spyware.

However, with several million different advertisers rotating through our site on a daily basis, we can’t possibly preview every advertisement appearing on our site (and vet all the sites they link to), so sometimes we’re not aware we’re carrying an ad that violates these guidelines until a reader points it out to us. (Some advertisers deliberately change their names from month to month or furtively switch pre-approved ad copy in order to bypass filters and fool advertising agencies and webmasters who have previously excluded their ads.)

If you encounter issues with any advertising on our site, please contact us immediately at adops@snopes.com. Please include as many details as possible (e.g., name of the advertiser, description of the ad, or a screen capture of the ad). Please note that without these details (especially screenshots) it is often difficult for us to identify a particular problem as many ads are geo-targeted to specific countries or regions of the U.S.; and if the geotargeting excludes the area where we live, we can’t see the ads for ourselves.

Why do you place ads so that they cover up some of the text in your articles?
All of our advertising is carefully positioned not to obscure any of the text or other elements within our articles, but not all browsers properly render the code used to align advertisements. If you encounter difficulties in reading an article due to a particular advertisement contained therein, you can usually eliminate the problem by simply refreshing the page, which will (in most cases) cause different ads to display within the article.

If you are experiencing difficulty with a banner ad obscuring the search engine entry box on an article page, you can get around this issue by simply using our main search page.

Why does my security software register intrusion attempts when I visit your site?
Most Internet advertising exchanges use cookies to keep track of which ads have been displayed to a particular visitor. These cookies do not acquire or collect any personal information about visitors (such as name, address, phone number, or email address), and the technical information they do temporarily store (such as geographic location, browser type, and IP address) is used solely for the purpose of targeting ads and measuring a given ad’s effectiveness. Nonetheless, some security programs flag such cookies as “adware” and/or mistakenly report cookie placement as an attempt to download software to the user’s computer. If you are uncomfortable with the use of cookies to temporarily store non-personal information, you can delete the cookie or alter your browser’s security settings to prevent it from accepting cookies.

Still have unanswered questions? Contact us.