General Etiquette > Techno-quette

Frequent Snopes-ing

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I have a good friend - she's actually going to be an in-law, as her daughter and my step-son are engaged.  Our relationship is close.  She has different political views from DH and I, which is fine - many of our friends hold different views and we actually have had very interesting discussions on occasions.

But this friend is prone to making posts on FB that are easily debunked by checking Snopes or Factcheck.  Sometimes the posts are just things like "This common food is actually poisonous!" or "Boycott this manufacturer for such-and-such reason!" but many of them are politically-motivated misinformation.  She is not originating the post, but reposting a viral anti-X post or article.

My tendency has been to reply with a brief "X website has an article about that - it's not quite accurate to say....," and the link to the article.  But I noticed that I've been doing it a lot with her.  Probably nine out of ten of my Snopes-ings lately have been in reply to posts by her - probably once or twice a week.  I don't want to seem argumentative, but I also do not like to leave blatant misinformation laying out there unchallenged.

I do not reply when she says something that is just an opinion - I do not want to debate politics on FB.  I'm fine with debunking things like "combine these two ingredients to make a great cleaner!" but obviously politics is more fraught. 

Do folks have an opinion?  Am I being rude in replying this way?  Would it be better to just stop posting Snopes or fact-checking websites articles in response (which will drive me crazy to leave serious misinformation unchallenged)?  Unfortunately, I can't just take her out of my feed since this is one of the main ways we stay connected.  Would it be better to approach the subject in person sometime, and mention she might want to check Snopes etc. before reposting something, since there's so much misinformation out there?

I'll send a snopes link to any given person once, maybe twice if they're a close friend.  After that, I'll set my news feed to show "Only Important" posts from that person.  If their annoying posts still get through, I'll either unfriend them or hide all of their posts from my news feed.

I'm too busy to be this guy:

DHs family (parents, aunts, cousin, brother) forward every bit of crap that wanders through email or facebook.  Some of it is so obviously fake it's laughable, others are more plausible until you do a little research.  I no longer bother citing snopes unless what they're forwarding could be actually dangerous, such as the recent advice to cough vigorously to save yourself during a heart attach or to throw large amounts of flour on a fresh burn.

My aunt is famous for believing everything she reads on the internet and passing it along on Facebook.  She stayed with me for a week a bit ago and I had a conversation with her about not taking everything posted on the internet as fact. I pulled up Snopes for her to show her an incorrect story that was going around so she could see for herself.

But that hasn't stopped her from continuing to repost everything under the sun, so I don't bother anymore. I just privately roll my eyes and scroll on by most of her posts.

But my sweet next door neighbor posted something that is well known to be false, and I didn't want think that if people didn't do it her own fb security was in jeopardy. (it was one of those 'do x so I know you've updated your security on fb, and then post it on your page so I can see it and keep you as a friend') So I sent her a gently worded private message with a link showing it as false.  She immediately put a disclaimer on her post and thanked me for the heads up. 

Snopes-ing, in general, has been discussed a lot on this board and the concensus seems to be that there is nothing wrong with referring someone to Snopes.  Many people feel the same way you do regarding the continued spread of misinformation. 

Personally, I feel like it too often is used as a "Ha!  I know more/better than you do." club.  I'm not saying that is your intent, but that is very much how it can be interpreted.  Particularly if you're doing it as frequently as you say you are.  If nothing else, she's may be getting the idea that you think she's an idiot. 

I do think you should stop posting the Snopes or fact-checking articles to her.  Or at least, post fewer. 

As far as how you might deal with not being able to feed your compulsion, I have no advice.


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