Transparency: Topic Selection
Unlike many other sites in the online fact-checking world, at Snopes.com we do not exclusively focus on politics (although political fact-checking makes up a large portion of our work). When it comes to politics and other social and topical issues, 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 for the process of determining reader interest include the tabulation of terms entered into our search engine, reader e-mail submissions, comments and items posted to our Twitter and Facebook accounts, external social media posts, Google Trends, Twitter’s Trending Now, Facebook’s Trending Topics, and items flagged for review by Facebook users as part of our partnership with Facebook.
The items we address come in forms that include (but are not limited to) text circulated online, social media posts, image macros/memes, videos, printed material, and articles from other sites and publications.
We don’t address, without exception, every single item that comes our way: 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).