Fact checking website Snopes.com is one of the most popular sites on the Internet. Recently, it’s become embroiled in scandal relating to sex and the misuse of funds, are reported on saboteur365 last December 22.
There are legal claims that were asserted this year that there’s more scamming going on in relation to Snopes. The response by Snopes has been to start a fund raising campaign. The Gofundme appeal has already raised $281,000 toward a half million dollar goal.
First, the Snopes fund raising appeal, then the story about the lawsuit relating to ownership and control of Snopes and misuse of funds by the Jewish owner.
SNOPES.COM COMMUNITY: WE NEED YOUR HELP
Snopes.com in Danger of Shuttering
Snopes.com, which began as a small one-person effort in 1994 and has since become one of the Internet’s oldest and most popular fact-checking sites, is in danger of closing its doors. So, for the first time in our history, we are turning to you, our readership, for help.
Since our inception, we have always been a self-sustaining site that provides a free service to the online world: we’ve had no sponsors, no outside investors or funding, and no source of revenue other than that provided by online advertising. Unfortunately, we have been cut off from our historic source of advertising income.
We had previously contracted with an outside vendor to provide certain services for Snopes.com. That contractual relationship ended earlier this year, but the vendor will not acknowledge the change in contractual status and continues to essentially hold the Snopes.com web site hostage. Although we maintain editorial control (for now), the vendor will not relinquish the site’s hosting to our control, so we cannot modify the site, develop it, or — most crucially — place advertising on it. The vendor continues to insert their own ads and has been withholding the advertising revenue from us.
Our legal team is fighting hard for us, but, having been cut off from all revenue, we are facing the prospect of having no financial means to continue operating the site and paying our staff (not to mention covering our legal fees) in the meanwhile.
As misinformation has increasingly threatened democracies around the world (including our own), Snopes.com has stood in the forefront of fighting for truth and dispelling misinformation online. It is vital that these efforts continue, so we are asking the Snopes.com community to donate what they can. (Our suggested donation is $10, but if you can give more please consider doing so — every little bit helps.)
We need our community now more than ever, as it is only through your support that Snopes.com can remain the community and resource we all know and love.
Excerpt from Courthouse News
A lawsuit filed in California last week claims the fact-check news site Snopes.com has been caught up in its own concealment scheme, in an ownership spat that has left the site’s personnel matters in limbo.
Internet media management company Proper Media sued Bardav Inc. and its owner David Mikkelson over the “unlawful jockeying for ownership and control of the fact-checking website Snopes.com,” which gained a national profile during the presidential election last year and “recently entered into a high-profile agreement with Facebook to integrate fact-checking services into its social media platform,” according to the 16-page lawsuit filed in San Diego Superior Court on May 4.
Mikkelson and his ex-wife Barbara founded Bardav – which owns the Snopes website – in 2003, and each owned a 50 percent shared in the company. When the two divorced, Barbara Mikkelson sold her share to Proper Media last July.
While Proper Media was already managing a significant amount of the operation of Snopes including all content and advertising accounts prior to acquiring shares in the company, the company says in its complaint that when its individual shareholders, including Vincent Green, gained a stake in Snopes a scam was launched to take over the website – one of the 1,000 most popular in the United States.
But Proper Media says in its complaint that Mikkelson “was unhappy that Barbara maintained ownership of half of what he always considered to be his company after the divorce.”
Thus, Proper Media says, Green and Mikkelson conspired to gain majority control of Bardav and Snopes.com. Mikkelson and Green blocked its access to “personnel, accounts, tools and data necessary to manage Snopes,” according to the lawsuit.
“Mikkelson, in conjunction with Green, intentionally did block Proper Media’s access to personnel, accounts, tools and data to take over Snopes and to prevent Proper Media from performing under the general services agreement,” Proper Media says in its lawsuit.
The company also accuses Mikkelson of misusing Bardav funds and says he was improperly reimbursed for legal fees related to his divorce and travel expenses from when he went on a honeymoon to Asia late last year with his new bride – Snopes employee Elyssa Young.
Meanwhile, Green removed $10,000 worth of computer equipment used by three Proper Media employees before sending his resignation to Proper Media from a Snopes email account, according to Proper Media’s lawsuit. The company also accuses him of blocking its founders – plaintiffs Christopher Richmond and Drew Schoentrup – from accessing Snopes’ content-management system.
Additionally, Proper Media says Green removed Snopes-related data from its online communication tools including Slack and Asana. The company says Green admitted he did not complete work for Proper Media from the start of the alleged conspiracy in January up until his resignation April 3, even though the company paid him and contributed to his health insurance premiums, according to the lawsuit.
Proper Media is still responsible for operating the content-management system for Snopes, though access to the system remains blocked for Proper Media employees, the lawsuit says.
Shut it down. It’s fake news.