From Hoaxes to Mind-Benders: Snopes' Top 10 Stories from 2023

An ode to some of the internet's most bizarre rumors.

Published Dec. 26, 2023

 (Izz LaMagdeleine/Snopes)
Image Via Izz LaMagdeleine/Snopes

The past year was a big one for Snopes. Under new company ownership, we added several new members to the team (including the writer of this collection) and reported on topics that ranged from former U.S. President Donald Trump's indictments to gobs of celebrity death hoaxes. As we head into the new year, we wanted to look back and highlight the stories that received the most page views on our website in 2023.

We found many of our most popular stories involved misleading clickbait advertisements or rumors surrounding Facebook. The ideas for several fact-checks on the list came directly from readers like you — thank you!

Going forward, we'll continue to prioritize bringing context and clarity to the wildest claims on the internet. The 2024 presidential election is approaching, and we plan to cover the endless falsehoods that will surely arise. In order to do so, we need your help. If you found our work useful this year, please consider becoming a member — a key foundation of our sustainability and resilience.

Here's the list of top stories in reverse order. Scroll to the bottom to find our most popular story of 2023:

A Facebook hoax claimed that to regain friends in your news feed and get rid of ads, copy and paste some text into a post to upgrade the system, then say hello new and old friends.
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Person, Human, Face
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Cracker Barrel is not closing all restaurants and store locations, going bankrupt or going out of business for other reasons, despite ads seen on Facebook and Instagram.
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An aerial view of Walt Disney World shows people in the park near a large castle.
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A phone that says Facebook is next to the Facebook logo.
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Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro never tweeted look how beautiful my sister looks nor did he tweet about fantasizing about a hot sister.
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A rumor in Facebook and Instagram ads claimed that Wendy's was going to be closing all restaurant locations, going out of business or going bankrupt.
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Aleksandra Wrona, Author at Snopes.Com. /author/aleksandra-wrona/. Accessed 22 Dec. 2023.

Become a Snopes Supporter | Snopes.Com. /join/. Accessed 22 Dec. 2023.

Death Hoax Archives | Snopes.Com. /tag/death-hoax/. Accessed 22 Dec. 2023.

Jack Izzo, Author at Snopes.Com. /author/jack-izzo/. Accessed 22 Dec. 2023.

Taija PerryCook, Author at Snopes.Com. /author/taija-perrycook/. Accessed 22 Dec. 2023.

Trump Indictments Archives | Snopes.Com. /tag/trump_indictment/. Accessed 22 Dec. 2023.

Izz Scott LaMagdeleine is a fact-checker for Snopes.