See who Facebookis going to have 'fact-checking' for you
Facebook 'fact checker' who will arbitrate on 'fake news' is accused of defrauding website to pay for prostitutes - and its staff includes an escort-porn star and 'Vice Vixen domme'
- Facebook has announced plans to check for 'fake news' using a series of organizations to assess whether stories are true
- One of them is a website called Snopes.com which claims to be one of the web's 'essential resources' and 'painstaking, scholarly and reliable'
- It was founded by husband-and-wife Barbara and David Mikkelson, who used a letterhead claiming they were a non-existent society to start their research
- Now they are divorced - with Barbara claiming in legal documents he embezzled $98,000 of company money and spent it on 'himself and prostitutes'
- In a lengthy and bitter legal dispute he is claiming to be underpaid and demanding 'industry standard' or at least $360,000 a year
- The two also dispute what are basic facts of their case - despite Snopes.com saying its 'ownership' is committed to 'accuracy and impartiality'
- Snopes.com founder David Mikkelson's new wife Elyssa Young is employed by the website as an administrator
- She has worked as an escort and porn actress and despite claims website is non-political ran as a Libertarian for Congress on a 'Dump Bush' platform
- Its main 'fact checker' is Kimberly LaCapria, whose blog 'ViceVixen' says she is in touch with her 'domme side' and has posted on Snopes.com while smoking pot
One of the websites Facebook is to use to arbitrate on 'fake news' is involved in a bitter legal dispute between its co-founders, with its CEO accused of using company money for prostitutes.
Snopes.com will be part of a panel used by Facebook to decide whether stories which users complain about as potentially 'fake' should be considered 'disputed'.
But the website's own troubles and the intriguing choice of who carries out its 'fact checks' are revealed by DailyMail.com, as one of its main contributors is disclosed to be a former sex-blogger who called herself 'Vice Vixen'.
Snopes.com will benefit from Facebook's decision to allow users to report items in their newsfeed which they believe to be 'fake'.
It is asking a number of organizations to arbitrate on items which are reported or which Facebook staff think may not be genuine, and decide whether they should be marked as 'disputed'.
The others include ABC News, the Associated Press and 'fact-checking' websites including Politifact.com.
Now a DailyMail.com investigation reveals that Snopes.com's founders, former husband and wife David and Barbara Mikkelson, are embroiled in a lengthy and bitter legal dispute in the wake of their divorce.
He has since remarried, to a former escort and porn actress who is one of the site's staff members.
They are accusing each other of financial impropriety, with Barbara claiming her ex-husband is guilty of 'embezzlement' and suggesting he is attempting a 'boondoggle' to change tax arrangements, while David claims she took millions from their joint accounts and bought property in Las Vegas.
The Mikkelsons founded the site in 1995. The couple had met in the early 1990s on a folklore-themed online message board, and married before setting up the site.
Profiles of the website disclose that for some time before it was set up, the couple had posed as 'The San Fernardo Valley Folklore Society', using its name on letterheads, even though it did not exist.
A profile for the Webby Awards published in October describes it as 'an entity dreamed up to help make the inquiries seem more legit'.
David Mikkeleson told the Los Angeles Times in 1997: 'When I sent letters out to companies, I found I got a much better response with an official-looking organization's stationery.'
In 2015, their marriage ended in divorce - but a bitter legal dispute continues.
Both stayed on as co-owners of Snopes - which is registered under its legal name of Bardav, Inc. and were its sole board members.
Adult model: Elyssa Young was a model for adult magazines in the 1990s, and appears to have continued posing for photographs until recently.