Fact checking site Snopes raised more than $500,000 Monday, on the first day of a campaign launched to keep the site operational during a dispute with a vendor that is allegedly “holding the site hostage.”
The crowdfunding page describes how the site lost access to its ad revenue after ending its relationship with Proper Media. The media company has allegedly refused to acknowledge the termination of the contract and continues to host advertisements on the site, while refusing to hand over any of the resulting revenue. (RELATED: ‘Fact-Checker’ Snopes Is Begging Readers For Cash)
“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,” Snopes staff wrote.
Snopes was founded in 1994 and has since become the internet’s most well-known online fact check destination. Both Google and Facebook implemented highly-visible Snopes fact check claims under links to news stories earlier this year in an effort to combat “fake news.”
Procopio, the law firm representing Snopes, praised the public service performed by the site in a statement released Tuesday.
“This isn’t just any business dispute. What is at stake here is the survival of a tremendous public resource that has provided critical online fact-checking for more than twenty years,” the statement read. “Snopes.com was rooting out fake news long before ‘fake news’ became the big deal it is today.”
Procopio attorney Paul Tyrell celebrated the early success of the crowdfunding campaign and cited the contributions as evidence of readers appreciation for the site.
“We’ve argued in court that the public will be harmed if Snopes.com is forced to shut down,” Tyrell said. “The outpouring of support in response to the GoFundMe campaign makes it undeniable that the survival of Snopes.com is a matter of public interest.”
While the financial contributions illustrate the site’s popularity, it has come under fire for biased political fact checking.
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