Fact Check Ratings

If this were simple, everyone would have a fact-checking site.

Every fact check on Snopes.com is rated in order to help readers quickly ascertain the credibility of a claim. Readers often ask why we don’t just use “true” or “false.”

Sometimes distilling the veracity of a nuanced topic or event into a one-word assessment can be challenging, misleading even. That’s why we draw from a broader spectrum of ratings. We always strive to be precise, accurate, and fair.

It’s important to note the “Claim” statement clearly labeled on each fact check. The specific wording of that claim is what the rating evaluates.

Here’s a comprehensive list of the ratings we use and their definitions:

True

This rating indicates that the primary elements of a claim are demonstrably true.

Mixture

This rating indicates that a claim has significant elements of both truth and falsity to it such that it could not fairly be described by any other rating.

False

This rating indicates that the primary elements of a claim are demonstrably false.

Mostly True

This rating indicates that the primary elements of a claim are demonstrably true, but some of the ancillary details surrounding the claim may be inaccurate.

Mostly False

This rating indicates that the primary elements of a claim are demonstrably false, but some of the ancillary details surrounding the claim may be accurate.

Unproven

This rating indicates that insufficient evidence exists to establish the given claim as true, but the claim cannot be definitively proved false. This rating typically involves claims for which there is little or no affirmative evidence, but for which declaring them to be false would require the difficult (if not impossible) task of our being able to prove a negative or accurately discern someone else’s thoughts and motivations.

Outdated

This rating applies to items for which subsequent events have rendered their original truth rating irrelevant (e.g., a condition that was the subject of protest has been rectified, or the passage of a controversial law has since been repealed).

Miscaptioned

This rating is used with photographs and videos that are real” (i.e., not the product, partially or wholly, of digital manipulation) but are nonetheless misleading because they are accompanied by explanatory material that falsely describes their origin, context, and/or meaning.

Correct Attribution

This rating indicates that quoted material (speech or text) has been correctly attributed to the person who spoke or wrote it. 

Misattributed

This rating indicates that quoted material (speech or text) has been incorrectly attributed to a person who didn't speak or write it.

Scam

This rating” is not a truth rating but rather indicates pages that describe the details of verified scams.

Legend

This rating is most commonly associated with items that describe events so general or lacking in detail that they could have happened to someone, somewhere, at some time, and are therefore essentially unprovable.