For reasons unknown to most of the general public, Snopes.com has ascended to a place of power in the world of Internet fact-checking, culminating in its new agreement to become fact-check so-called “fake news” sites with Facebook and other news organizations.
But while Snopes enjoys a reputation for seemingly being an “arbiter of truth” among many in the social media world, the truth is that the site has mostly operated as a “mom-and-pop” organization over the years according to NPR, although it has hired more staff recently.
Now, the website has been granted an enormous amount of power and may soon be able to determine which stories get seen more on Facebook and which get buried. As fate would have it, the organization seems incredibly biased toward Monsanto and the Biotech industry, according to a report from one popular food researcher and blogger.
Did Snopes.com Bow to Monsanto and Industry Pressure on Glyphosate?
Recent indpendent lab tests showed that popular American foods contain alarmingly high levels of glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s best-selling herbicide.
Glyphosate was deemed to be a “probable human carcinogen” by the World Health Organization in 2015, much to the chagrin of Monsanto and other agrochemical companies.
Unfortunately for readers of a recent Snopes.com piece on the glyphosate testing reports, a key fact was incorrectly stated, and major edits were made to the original story that have many wondering whether Monsanto or Biotech industry influence was involved (see the full post from researcher and blogger Vani Hari, aka ‘Food Babe,’ here).
According to Hari’s report, the facts on glyphosate and cancer were incorrectly stated:
“In this first revision, Snopes makes a huge mistake in stating that the World Health Organization’s International Agency For Research on Cancer’s (IARC) finding that glyphosate is probably carcinogenic to humans was “overturned in March 2016”, which is NOT TRUE…”
Hari continues, pointing out that the shocking (deliberate?) mistake by Snopes:
“IARC’s 2015 assessment has NOT been overturned, this is just what Monsanto dreams would happen. In reality, the team of international independent cancer scientists at IARC who made the finding that glyphosate “probably causes cancer in humans” are defending their decision,” Hari wrote, “while being attacked by Monsanto with their lobbying group attempting to cut off IARC’s funding. The 17 independent scientists at IARC came to an unanimous decision that isn’t muddled by industry ties, and Monsanto is trying to shut them up.”
In addition to that incorrect statement, Hari includes screenshots in her report showing how heavily edited the Snopes.com piece became.
The piece originally originally issued a “verdict” that the reports on glyphosate in food are a
“mixture” of truth and fact, but Snopes did a quick about-face and changed it to “false” about 24 hours later.
The following was also changed by Snopes.com:
-Information was removed about two popular foods that contained higher than the safe glyphosate level permitted in U.S. drinking water
-Language was changed to make the findings of an FDA-registered independent lab seem less credible, removing words like “scientific” and “independent laboratory analysis”
-Snopes.com did a complete about-face while heavily redacting and censoring a section questioning Monsanto’s influence within the FDA
For more on how Snopes.com was caught in the act including screenshots, analysis and more, along with info about how a paid Monsanto-affiliated pro-GMO researcher was involved, check out the full article by clicking on this link.