newsonaut


by Mark Rogers

October 18, 2014


Sorry, folks: turns out crabzilla doesn't exist after all

Have you heard? The Nigerian government has a ceasefire deal with Boko Haram rebels that includes the release of hundreds of abducted schoolgirls.

Or have they? It depends on the source. Some news outlets would have you believe it’s a done deal, while others are more skeptical.

That’s the nature of the Internet. With so many sources for the news, it’s hard sometimes to know what to believe.

For really wild rumours, there is no better site than Snopes for separating the wheat from the chaff.

In recent days, the site has been feasting on the hysteria surrounding Ebola since a few cases cropped up in the U.S.

Among the Ebola urban legends they’ve debunked:

  • A Texas town was quarantined because a family of five tested positive for ebola.
  • Ebola can now be spread by airborne transmission.
  • Ebola victims have returned to life.

But what about stories like the one about the kidnapped schoolgirls? That one at least seems plausible.

To check on those stories, you can now turn to Emergent, a site created by Craig Silverman, who first gained fame by holding newspapers to account with Regret the Error.

(Coincidentally, the latest Regret the Error post is titled Top 5 falsehoods about Ebola.)

Over at Emergent, we learn that the Boko Haram story has been classified at Unverified. Only three sources are for the claim, while another 13 are playing it safe by observing the situation.

I’d say this is a story we can believe when we actually see pictures of the girls being welcomed home by their families.

In many cases, stories are considered Unverified — the claim, for example, that ISIS fighters are being trained to fly captured fighter jets. Or the claim that ISIS has executed two of its own fighters.

Both these claims certainly seem like they could be true. But as it stands, we simply don’t know for sure.

Some stories at Emergent, such as the one about the picture of a 50-foot crab, have been confirmed false.

You might wonder why anyone would believe such an outlandish story in the first place. But admit it: wouldn’t it be cool if crabzilla really did exist? And it’s kinda fun to read about it.




by Mark Rogers © 2010-2018