CEO of fact-checking site Snopes caught plagiarizing dozens of articles, says “There is no excuse for my serious lapses in judgement”

According to a new report from Buzzfeed “the Co-Founder Of Snopes Wrote Dozens Of Plagiarized Articles For The Fact-Checking Site.”

Per Buzzfeed:

David Mikkelson, the co-founder of the fact-checking website Snopes, has long presented himself as the arbiter of truth online, a bulwark in the fight against rumors and fake news. But he has been lying to the site’s tens of millions of readers: A BuzzFeed News investigation has found that between 2015 and 2019, Mikkelson wrote and published dozens of articles containing material plagiarized from news outlets such as the Guardian and the LA Times.

After inquiries from BuzzFeed News, Snopes conducted an internal review and confirmed that under a pseudonym, the Snopes byline, and his own name, Mikkelson wrote and published 54 articles with plagiarized material. The articles include such topics as same-sex marriage licenses and the death of musician David Bowie.

Read more here. 

Mikkelson issued the following statement:

The results of our internal audit confirmed that I engaged in multiple serious copyright violations of content that Snopes didn’t have rights to use. There is no excuse for my serious lapses in judgement. I am sorry. I have given full authority to our managing editor, Doreen Marchionni, to take any measures needed to address these issues.

While I can’t change the past, I couldn’t be prouder of how Snopes has evolved since then. Snopes has grown beyond our roots as a “one-man band” website into a newsroom of dedicated, professional journalists who serve the public with trustworthy information. Thanks to their efforts, Snopes has published original reporting on the COVID-19 pandemic, the recent elections, Russian disinformation efforts and so much more. The last thing I ever wanted was to have my mistakes detract from their excellent work, and I’m doing everything I can to make it right.

—David Mikkelson