Why The Fact-Checking Website 'Snopes' Is In Danger Of Shutting Down

Snopes.com—the legendary debunking website devoted to taking down fake news, urban legends, and shadowy conspiracy theories—is in danger of shutting down, resorting to using crowdfunding to keep itself going. 

The funding problem, Snopes says, stems from a legal fight with a vendor and co-owner. “[Our] 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,” the website wrote in a letter to its readers. “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.”

Snopes and this other party, Proper Media, both filed complaints against each other earlier in July, reported Poynter

Now, Snopes is trying to crowdfund $ 500,000 via GoFundMe in order to continue the operation of its site while this legal battle is ongoing. As of this afternoon, the site has raised more than $ 80,000 in donations.

These donations are “intended to help us get through the next several months in the hopes that the legal issues will be largely resolved by then,” said Snopes founder David Mikkelson to Poynter.

Proper Media, however, has lambasted Mikkelson’s account of the site’s legal troubles. “Proper Media suggests that the media conduct its own fact-check of the fundraising plea posted today on Snopes.com,” it said in a statement to Poynter. “First, Proper Media is far more than an “outside vendor” to Bardav, Inc., the company that owns Snopes. In fact, it is a 50% co-owner of Bardav.”

Proper Media further alleged that Mikkelson has “engaged in gross financial, technical, and corporate mismanagement.”

“This case involves unlawful jockeying for ownership and control of the fact-checking website Snopes.com,” said the company’s complaint against Snopes, according to Vice. “But while Snopes is built entirely around the concepts of transparency and truth, its founder, Defendant David Mikkelson, has engaged in a lengthy scheme of concealment and subterfuge to gain control of the company and to drain its profits.”

Ironically, Snopes itself had been the subject of a conspiracy theory by fringe outlets, which claimed that the website was funded by liberal billionaire George Soros in order to slander conservatives. Needless to say, this isn’t true.

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This Queer Chef Has Zero Interest In Being Profiled By Ivanka Trump's Website

This Queer Chef Has Zero Interest In Being Profiled By Ivanka Trump’s Website

Chef Angela Dimayuga was surprised to see freelance writer Adi Heyman slide into her DMs recently.  “I would love to conduct an interview (via telephone/email) with you spotlighting your work as a strong female entrepreneur,” wrote Heyman, calling her work “extraordinary.” 

The catch to all this positive press? It was for Ivanka Trump’s website. 

Heyman went on to reassure Dimayuga that the website was “a non-political platform of empowerment for modern working women.” Dimayuga is the executive chef at Mission Chinese Food, so she has certainly accomplished extraordinary things. However, she disagreed with Heyman’s characterization of an Ivanka property.

In a long response which Dimayuga screenshot for Instagram, she laid into the idea of Ivanka Trump profiting off her story in any way. Dimayuga is queer, the child of immigrants, and a woman of color. In her letter she says that any amplification of her voice through Ivanka’s publication wouldn’t put a dent in all the techniques the Trump family is using to silence people like her all over the country. Here’s her letter in full:

Hi Adi, Thank you for thinking of me. I’m glad you are a fan of my work so much that you want to provide more visibility for my career to inspire “other working women.” However, I’m for women who actually empower other women. I don’t believe thatIvankaTrump.comis truly “a non-political platform of empowerment for [women]”. 

So long as the name Trump is involved, it is political and frankly, an option for theIvankaTrump.combusiness to make a profit. I don’t see anything empowering about defunding Planned Parenthood, barring asylum from women refugees, rolling back safeguards for equal pay, and treating POC/LGBT and the communities that support these groups like second class citizens.

As a queer person of color and daughter of immigrant parents I am not interested in being profiled as an aspirational figure for those that support a brand and a President that slyly disparages female empowerment.Sharing my story with a brand and family that silences our same voices is futile. Thank you for the consideration. 

The Huffington Postreports that Dimayuga is even more aware of intersectional politics because of her job as a chef, as cooking is often a male dominated field. She told them, “It’s important for me to acknowledge the intersectional community in which I’ve been able to creatively thrive in.” In return, she’s gotten an enormous response on her post, including a comment from celebrity chef Antony Bourdain who wrote, “My hero!” in the Instagram comments.

”The sheer number of people that have been supportive just shows that there is a stronger and bigger community than I see on the day-to-day that are willing to actually help, protect, support women and those in marginalized communities,” Dimayuga toldThe Huffington Post, adding, “I’m not interested in a catfight―I just found an opportunity to speak and share my narrative and my truth to vocalize my values and my own integrity. For me, it was an opportunity to say I belonged to a community where I hope to enrich the different spheres I live in and to cultivate empowering environments that are safe for us.” 

Though Dimayuga hasn’t heard back from Heyman, she got a bunch of new followers from her post. Including Ivanka Trump herself. Guess Ivanka momentarily heard at least one new voice, probably because it was shouting, “HELL NO.”

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