Fact Checking Site Snopes Is Being Held Hostage In Messy Legal Battle

By Ian Morris on at

Internet fact checking site Snopes is currently crowdfunding for legal fees claiming that it's being held hostage by its former hosting and advertising partner. The mythbusters are looking to raise $500,000 to cover staff costs and legal fees amid a ferocious battle for ownership of the site.

Snopes is a fixture of the internet. Used to settle arguments since 1995, when it was established based on facts scraped from the newsgroup alt.folklore.urban. The couple who ran it met, and subsequently married thanks to the newsgroup and went on to build one of the most popular urban legend sites online.

However, times have been a little dark for the site recently. Owners David and Barbara Mikkelson divorced in 2015 and this has led to some complications with the ownership. The company which hosts and sells ads on Snopes, Proper Media LLC, claims that it owns a 50% share of Bardav Inc - the Snopes parent company - after Barbara sold up post-divorce.

While it may be true that Proper Media LLC owns half the business, David Mikkelson says that he's not currently getting paid any money for the ads that Proper Media is running on the site. And it is this, legal battle with Proper Media aside, that currently threatens the future of the site.

Snopes is one of the sites which was asked to assist Facebook in its quest to squash fake news. Aside from that, it's a 20-year-old internet site that has earned itself a lot of love over the years. It's quaint writing style and huge archive of urban legends makes for great reading. It's a terrible shame to see sites go to the wall in a dispute about money, but it was ever thus.

A site called SaveSnopes.com has been established with David Mikkelson's statement and a link to the GoFundMe page. At the time of writing the company has nearly raised its target of $500,000, hitting $456,154 so far.

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