Back To Top
If you are familiar with Conspiracy theories then there is a great chance that you have run across the SNOPES website on more than one occasion.
For those who are unfamiliar with it, SNOPES is a website dedicated to finding conspiracy theories and “debunking” those that it deems false.
With that being said, Although the website has been accurate on a few subjects — I have noticed an increasing number of misleading (if not outright incorrect) conclusions.
In an obviously militant attempt to discredit the Christian/Conspiratorial site BeforeItsNews — SNOPES published a rather misleading article titled “On January 1st 2015 Facebook Will Drop a ‘Bombshell'” (See post)
The article by SNOPES is an excellent example of the “Staw-man” fallacy at work — one party misrepresents the argument of another (builds a straw-man) and debunks the misrepresentation (tears straw-man down).
According to Snopes, the December 3rd post by the “Highly Disreputable” site BeforeItsNews claims the following…
“Facebook has announced it will be turning over use data to the FBI, CIA, and NSA”
The misrepresentation part happened within the first 3 words, Did you catch it?
Yet when you view what was actually said on the BeforeItsNews blog post, you will see that the website never even made this assertion.
Here is a quote…
“Major news is about to be released from the infamous privacy stealing company known as Facebook. All users will be asked around January 1st, 2015, to accept the new terms. But just what are these mysterious “new terms” being bolstered by Facebook?
How about the fact that they want to allow third parties like the CIA, FBI, NSA, etc. to collect information not only from your Facebook page but from your computer, your phone, and any other device you access Facebook from.”
Here we can clearly see that nowhere did the article claim that Facebook was “Announcing” anything of the sort — yet SNOPES uses this false assumption to build a mountain of “evidence” to debunk an argument that never existed.
Now that is awfully “Disreputable”, wouldn’t you agree?
Snopes then redirected it’s attack toward the popular conspiracy organization known as “Info Wars”.
“The article was predicated on a video called “Facebook Spies on You for the Government” which was posted to YouTube by the (equally disreputable) InfoWars account on 3 December 2014 and narrated by Joe Biggs”
Snopes Continued by stating a few relatively generic statements pertaining to the “Complexity” of the Facebook terms and agreements and then concluded by implying that this issue could not be paraphrased or shrunk to fit an article or video. A statement who’s relevance is at best questionable.
“Facebook’s (and other similar social media sites’) relationship to privacy is a multi-faceted, complex, and perpetually evolving issue[…] Neither that video nor this article could adequately address the sheer breadth of issues contained within the scope of social media and individual privacy concerns.”
But although snopes rants for about 3 paragraphs — once you get beyond the “fluff stuff”, the following statement emerges…
“And even if Facebook intended to do such a thing (which is not supported by any evidence, anecdotal or actual), turning over data obtained in that manner to law enforcement would necessitate the prior issuance of a search warrant.”
Here Snopes assumes that in order for information from the social media giant to be shared with government sources (CIA, FBI, NSA, Etc) — they must first have the proper warrants. But based on History and the information released by government whistle-blower Edward Snowden — this is false.
According to an article written by CNN…
“In addition to phone records and email logs, the National Security Agency uses Facebook and other social media profiles to create maps of social connections — including those of American citizens.”
The article continues…
“The revelation was disclosed by the New York Times on Sunday, using documents provided to the newspaper by former government contractor Edward Snowden”
Snowden also released information that revealed the PRISM program which essentially allows the government to directly access the servers of U.S. Tech giants like Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Facebook (among many others).
So ladies and gentlemen, I guess SNOPES just got “Snoped” (pun intended).
READ NEXT: NSA Surveillance Exposed | Snowden Leaks