Multiple death hoaxes and misleading scientific claims have been debunked because of their work. Blatant falsehoods such as the Miranda Cosgrove case have been debunked thanks to the site. It has gained significant importance with the rise of "fake news" cycles during the Trump presidency.
Snopes said that Proper Media, a company that owns and operates the site, filed a complaint to the California Superior Court after the two disagreed whether there had been a breach of contract. Proper Media did not believe that there should have been a termination of the contract. Because of this, they have cut all revenue from Snopes.
It's all about advertising, and who controls it. Snopes currently has editorial control of the site, but they do not have control of the site hosting. They cannot place the ads. Proper Media does, and all that ad revenue goes to them instead.
The Mikkelsons created a company in 2003, Bardav, Inc., which Snopes was a part of. Barbara was a 50 percent owner of it and sold it to Proper Media after her divorce with David. One of the five equity owners of Proper Media was Drew Schoentrup, who is currently suing David.
Schoentrup alleges that Snopes could not terminate the contract since because he is a board of director of Bardav since he bought shares of the company. It takes approval of the board of directors to make the termination possible. Mikkelson says that he is the only director and that all the spots are vacant now that Barbara sold her share.
The weird set-up of one company owning half of another comes down to whether Mikkelson needs Proper to make his decisions. Did the sale create five individual owners of total ownership of Proper Media? That confusing land makes that contract termination a problem.
What complicates things even further is one coworker of Snopes, Vincent Green. He is director of business development of Snopes. He also hired people with experience to increase the quality of content.
It puts the staff that makes the research and posts on Snopes possible in danger of losing their jobs. One of those includes Brooke Binkowski, the managing editor. The site has added staff in recent years to keep up with an increase in the false political news.
14. Mikkelsen's Personal Life Is Mixed With Snopes As Well
Mikkelsen is also accused by his ex-wife of embezzlement of company money to spend on personal expenses and prostitutes. Mikkelson is also under fire for putting his new wife as a Snopes employee as administrator. Her past as an escort and ties to the Libertarian Party has been seen as a conflict to the company.
With the money gained from the GoFundeMe campaign, Snopes has enough to continue for a while. Their operating costs run at $100,000 a month. But if they do not solve their complicated legal problem, it might be the end of this fact-checking institution for good.