The fact-finding organization Snopes was forced to cut back on its production of routine content and special projects, as the amount of misinformation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic overwhelmed its fact-checkers.
In one blog post which was later published as series of tweets, the organization said the pandemic was “overwhelming” its small team and could not ask them to increase their productivity at a time when everyone’s personal life was under strain. “Yes, publishing less may seem counter-intuitive,” writes the organization, “but the exhaustion of our staff in this crisis is not the remedy for what is hurting our industry.” In the future, he said he intends to focus his efforts “only where we think we can have a significant impact”.
Snopes is not the only organization struggling to manage the amount of misinformation spread about the new coronavirus pandemic. Facebook, which until last year had partnered with Snopes to combat disinformation, pledged to remove coronavirus disinformation, only for a software bug to start marking legitimate articles as spam. Twitter, meanwhile, has been inconsistent in its approach. He deleted the erroneous information published by several high-level accounts, but then refused to delete a misleading tweet from Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
In its announcement, Snopes offered some advice on how people could help curb the spread of misinformation. He directed people to official information sources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) and asked people to support local publications and businesses. He also called on people to support Snopes directly with donations and put pressure on major technology platforms to do more to combat misinformation themselves.
In addition to reducing production on its regular content, Snopes says it offers all of its employees a $ 750 cash bonus to help cover any costs they may face, and said it will offer paid holidays for caregivers and their families.
In the meantime, if you want to check out the COVID-19 fact checks already done, you can do so. here.