At Snopes, our process for deciding what topics to fact check is pretty simple: We monitor burgeoning rumors across media platforms and rank them by whether they show signs of future virality and/or whether we could do a public service by setting the record straight. We also consider requests from readers for what questions they want answered.
[Learn more: What is Snopes’ fact-checking process?]
And, just like all online publishing systems, the natural outcome of that decision-making process is that some fact checks land louder (receive more web views) than others. Whether it’s because a particular topic is hot on Twitter or Google, or if it’s just so bizarre that people can’t believe others are concerned with it, the reasons behind the popularity of a fact check vary.
Below is a list of Snopes fact checks that received the most web views, or were the most popular, in 2021. A couple of them were first published years prior and recirculated in 2021 — which means the Internet is not yet ready to give up on asking their questions.
[See also: 2021 Greatest Hits: Investigations From Snopes]
False. Another president, another pants pooping rumor. This time around, U.S. President Joe Biden was said to have pooped his pants during a meeting with Pope Francis.
False. You asked, so we watched the 90-minute speech.
True. Online advertisements promised what appeared to be a handy trick for drivers involving plastic Ziplock bags.
False. An online advertisement that featured a picture of the famous therapist and his wife claimed to lead to details on a divorce settlement.
False. There are no real winners in this contest.
Mixture. The devil is always in the details.
True. Limbaugh would later say he regretted the segment as it made fun of people who were dying excruciating deaths.
False. Online advertisements promised what appeared to be a handy bathroom trick.
False. Five persons died in conjunction with the Capitol riot, but some reports surrounding their deaths weren’t entirely accurate.
Mixture. The past crimes of Susan Rosenberg reemerged in the summer of 2020, amid a new wave of protests over racial injustice and police brutality.
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