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How does Snopes.com expose fact from fiction?

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Quick Answer

Snopes.com uses in-depth research and analysis to differentiate fact from fiction, exposing untruths like rumors, urban legends and fallacies. The site bases its ratings on a "fact versus fiction" scale, and an item's status is based on the most important aspect of text under discussion, summarized in the statement after the "Claim" heading at the very top of the page. Each page with a claim and subsequent statement includes a list of sources used in determining the claim's accuracy.

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Full Answer

Created by professional researchers and writers Barbara and David Mikkelson, Snopes.com receives praise for being reliable and scholarly from the world's foremost folklorists, including Gary Alan Fine, Patricia Turner and Jan Harold Brunvand.

The site rates an urban legend as "true" when there is sufficient evidence indicating that the legend started with a factual event. If the actions in an urban legend occur after the legend already began circulating, it is not considered to be a true urban legend, but rather an "ostension." Some urban legends describe such general, plausible events that they could easily have happened at some point to someone; however, if the origins cannot be traced to a specific, identifiable event, Snopes.com does not categorize the urban legend as true.

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