Snopes co-founder David Mikkelson suspended for writing plagiarized articles
Fact-checking co-founder Snopes plagiarized reports under a false name, a BuzzFeed News investigation revealed. David Mikkelson, who co-founded the site with his wife in 1999, extracted sentences – and even paragraphs – from news articles on other websites and posted them on Snopes under an alias between 2015 and 2019, an act which he said helped generate traffic. A total of 54 articles were published under his name, his alias Jeff Zarronandia, and Snopes’ signature with plagiarized material. In Slack’s internal posts, Mikkelson said he did it in an effort to turn Snopes into a “platform for traffic-generating garbage that people would complain about if they were classic” snopes. “”, although other staff disagreed with his approach. A former Snopes writer told BuzzFeed that she did not comply with Mikkelson’s order because it did not follow journalistic ethical guidelines.
Snopes said they will remove all articles published by Mikkelson and suspend him from all editorial responsibilities. Mikkelson told the outlet he regretted his behavior and described the alias as a “stress relief thing” after conservative figures attacked the site in the 2016 election.