Michelle Dean Uncovers Some Truths About Snopes

Longreads

In the beginning, legendary internet fact-finding site Snopes.com answered interesting yet mundane questions such as how microwaved water affects houseplants and whether Walt Disney was cryogenically frozen after his death. (He wasn’t.) After 9/11 changed America forever, Snopes became a go-to resource for truth on everything from Obama birther conspiracy theories to keeping the facts straight on Donald Trump. For Wired, Michelle Dean profiles Snopes co-founder David Mikkelson and uncovers how a messy divorce, as well as ownership and control squabbles, have threatened the site’s existence.

Then, on September 11, 2001, out of the clear blue sky, everything changed. The planes flew into the Twin Towers and crashed at the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania, and America turned, panicked, to the internet to try to explain those events to itself. “I posted the first of the September 11 articles just after midnight on September 12,” Barbara wrote to me. It…

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