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News & Current Events Discuss Tips to Spot False News at the General Forum; Originally Posted by foundit66 It's funny how you respond but you leave out crucial elements in your reply that expose ...

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Old 04-13-2017, 11:39 AM
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Default Re: Tips to Spot False News

Quote:
Originally Posted by foundit66 View Post
It's funny how you respond but you leave out crucial elements in your reply that expose the true nature of your partisan attack. With one of your eyes held tightly shut, you only look at half the picture and avoid addressing things like Fox News hiring directly from the has-been political pool of the Republican party.

Let's put it this way.
What fact checking organizations do you like?
I think the fact checking organizations are best when they are new. But then the money and coercion rolls in.......
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Old 04-13-2017, 11:45 AM
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Post Re: Tips to Spot False News

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Originally Posted by Dog Man View Post
I think the fact checking organizations are best when they are new. But then the money and coercion rolls in.......
Okay, but What fact checking organizations do you currently like?
I think for some on here, there are no fact checking organization they like. None that they'll listen to.
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Old 04-13-2017, 11:52 AM
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Default Re: Tips to Spot False News

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Originally Posted by foundit66 View Post
Okay, but What fact checking organizations do you currently like?
I think for some on here, there are no fact checking organization they like. None that they'll listen to.
When has a fact-checking outlet been 100% reliable?...
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Old 04-13-2017, 12:04 PM
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Default Re: Tips to Spot False News

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Originally Posted by foundit66 View Post
Okay, but What fact checking organizations do you currently like?
I think for some on here, there are no fact checking organization they like. None that they'll listen to.
I prefer the Dog Man school of bafflement and bullshlt. They have never done me wrong.
Mikey is a tenured professor there.
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Old 04-13-2017, 12:04 PM
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Post Re: Tips to Spot False News

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Originally Posted by cnredd View Post
When has a fact-checking outlet been 100% reliable?...
People on the right keep dodging the question.

When has ANYTHING been 100% reliable?
Do people keep quoting Fox News / CNN / The Blaze / etc even though there are documented mistakes?
I'll whole-heartedly admit that I believe every fact-checking group out there has made a mistake. And what's more, when they make mistakes somebody catches that mistake.


This keep reconfirming the problem that's easily recognized.
For some, they don't like fact-checking period. After that, a parade of generic excuses come out.
There are complaints about fact-checking sites being "left-wing".
I've never seen a similar complaint that a fact-checking site is "right-wing". I think that's because right-wing resources can't put out a "fact-checking" site in the age of Trump because that will require cognitive dissonance in having to label Trump's claims as false.
The very concept of a fact-checking organization requires it to address the quote / claim put forth. Unlike posters on a forum, they can't start whining about "bu-bu-bu-Obama / Hillary".

So back to the question to the right-wingers.
What fact checking organizations do you currently like?
Or, if you don't like any of them, just say "none".
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Old 04-13-2017, 12:11 PM
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Default Re: Tips to Spot False News

Quote:
Originally Posted by foundit66 View Post
People on the right keep dodging the question.

When has ANYTHING been 100% reliable?
Do people keep quoting Fox News / CNN / The Blaze / etc even though there are documented mistakes?
I'll whole-heartedly admit that I believe every fact-checking group out there has made a mistake. And what's more, when they make mistakes somebody catches that mistake.


This keep reconfirming the problem that's easily recognized.
For some, they don't like fact-checking period. After that, a parade of generic excuses come out.
There are complaints about fact-checking sites being "left-wing".
I've never seen a similar complaint that a fact-checking site is "right-wing". I think that's because right-wing resources can't put out a "fact-checking" site in the age of Trump because that will require cognitive dissonance in having to label Trump's claims as false.
The very concept of a fact-checking organization requires it to address the quote / claim put forth. Unlike posters on a forum, they can't start whining about "bu-bu-bu-Obama / Hillary".

So back to the question to the right-wingers.
What fact checking organizations do you currently like?
Or, if you don't like any of them, just say "none".
What does your fact check say about Trump colluding with Russia to take the presidency away from Hillary?
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Old 04-13-2017, 12:35 PM
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Default Re: Tips to Spot False News

I don't have problem with "fact checking" or "fact checking" sites. I just don't want any ONE or 2 of them to be given the place as THE place that has the FINAL say on what is "the truth".

the more the merrier as far as i'm concerned . But just like EACH of the News services, often over time you can get a feel for their biases and POVS.
The thing about many right wing fact checking sites is that often they tell you up front what they are all about. The problem with left leaning sites is they don't acknowledge or sometimes can't even recognize their own biases.

They assume their POV is purely rational and objective and anyone who questions them is not not just partisan but irrational or a "DNIER of science", or "hate women" and the like.
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Old 04-13-2017, 12:50 PM
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Default Re: Tips to Spot False News

https://www.forbes.com/sites/kalevle.../#92826a9227f8

Quote:
DEC 22, 2016

The Daily Mail Snopes Story And Fact Checking The Fact Checkers


Kalev Leetaru , CONTRIBUTOR
I write about the broad intersection of data and society.

Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

Letters arranged to spell "facts." (Shutterstock)

Yesterday afternoon a colleague forwarded me an article from the Daily Mail, asking me if it could possibly be true. The article in question is an expose on Snopes.com, the fact checking site used by journalists and citizens across the world and one of the sites that Facebook recently partnered with to fact check news stories on its platform. The Daily Mail’s article makes a number of claims about the site’s principles and organization, drawing heavily from the proceedings of a contentious divorce between the site’s founders and questioning whether the site could possibly act as a trusted and neutral arbitrator of the “truth.”

When I first read through the Daily Mail article I immediately suspected the story itself must certainly be “fake news” because of how devastating the claims were and that given that Snopes.com was so heavily used by the journalistic community, if any of the claims were true, someone would have already written about them and companies like Facebook would not be partnering with them. I also noted that despite having been online for several hours, no other major mainstream news outlet had written about the story, which is typically a strong sign of a false or misleading story. Yet at the same time, the Daily Mail appeared to be sourcing its claims from a series of emails and other documents from a court case, some of which it reproduced in its article and, perhaps most strangely, neither Snopes nor its principles had issued any kind of statement through its website or social media channels disclaiming the story.

On the surface this looked like a classic case of fake news – a scandalous and highly shareable story, incorporating official-looking materials and sourcing, yet with no other mainstream outlet even mentioning the story. I myself told my colleague I simply did not know what to think. Was this a complete fabrication by a disgruntled target of Snopes or was this really an explosive expose pulling back the curtain on one of the world’s most respected and famous fact checking brands?

In fact, one of my first thoughts upon reading the article is that this is precisely how the “fake news” community would fight back against fact checking – by running a drip-drip of fake or misleading explosive stories to discredit and cast doubt upon the fact checkers.

In the counter-intelligence world, this is what is known as a “wilderness of mirrors” – creating a chaotic information environment that so perfectly blends truth, half-truth and fiction that even the best can no longer tell what’s real and what’s not.

Thus, when I reached out to David Mikkelson, the founder of Snopes, for comment, I fully expected him to respond with a lengthy email in Snopes’ trademark point-by-point format, fully refuting each and every one of the claims in the Daily Mail’s article and writing the entire article off as “fake news.”

It was with incredible surprise therefore that I received David’s one-sentence response which read in its entirety “I'd be happy to speak with you, but I can only address some aspects in general because I'm precluded by the terms of a binding settlement agreement from discussing details of my divorce.”

This absolutely astounded me. Here was the one of the world’s most respected fact checking organizations, soon to be an ultimate arbitrator of “truth” on Facebook, saying that it cannot respond to a fact checking request because of a secrecy agreement.

In short, when someone attempted to fact check the fact checker, the response was the equivalent of “it's secret.”

It is impossible to understate how antithetical this is to the fact checking world, in which absolute openness and transparency are necessary prerequisites for trust. How can fact checking organizations like Snopes expect the public to place trust in them if when they themselves are called into question, their response is that they can’t respond.

When I presented a set of subsequent clarifying questions to David, he provided responses to some and not to others. Of particular interest, when pressed about claims by the Daily Mail that at least one Snopes employee has actually run for political office and that this presents at the very least the appearance of potential bias in Snopes’ fact checks, David responded “It's pretty much a given that anyone who has ever run for (or held) a political office did so under some form of party affiliation and said something critical about their opponent(s) and/or other politicians at some point. Does that mean anyone who has ever run for office is manifestly unsuited to be associated with a fact-checking endeavor, in any capacity?”

That is actually a fascinating response to come from a fact checking organization that prides itself on its claimed neutrality. Think about it this way – what if there was a fact checking organization whose fact checkers were all drawn from the ranks of Breitbart and Infowars? Most liberals would likely dismiss such an organization as partisan and biased. Similarly, an organization whose fact checkers were all drawn from Occupy Democrats and Huffington Post might be dismissed by conservatives as partisan and biased. In fact, when I asked several colleagues for their thoughts on this issue this morning, the unanimous response back was that people with strong self-declared political leanings on either side should not be a part of a fact checking organization and all had incorrectly assumed that Snopes would have felt the same way and had a blanket policy against placing partisan individuals as fact checkers.

In fact, this is one of the reasons that fact checking organizations must be transparent and open. If an organization like Snopes feels it is ok to hire partisan employees who have run for public office on behalf of a particular political party and employ them as fact checkers where they have a high likelihood of being asked to weigh in on material aligned with or contrary to their views, how can they reasonably be expected to act as neutral arbitrators of the truth?

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Old 04-13-2017, 12:51 PM
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Default Re: Tips to Spot False News

continued

Quote:
Put another way, some Republicans believe firmly that climate change is a falsehood and that humans are not responsible in any way for climatic change. Those in the scientific community might object to an anti-climate change Republican serving as a fact checker for climate change stories at Snopes and flagging every article about a new scientific study on climate change as fake news. Yet, we have no way of knowing the biases of the fact checkers at Snopes – we simply have to trust that the site’s views on what constitutes neutrality are the same as ours.

When I asked for comment on the specific detailed criteria Snopes uses to screen its applicants and decide who to hire as a fact checker, surprisingly David demurred, saying only that the site looks for applicants across all fields and skills. He specifically did not provide any detail of any kind regarding the screening process and how Snopes evaluates potential hires. David also did not respond to further emails asking whether, as part of the screening process, Snopes has applicants fact check a set of articles to evaluate their reasoning and research skills and to gain insight into their thinking process.

This was highly unexpected, as I had assumed that a fact checking site as reputable as Snopes would have a detailed written formal evaluation process for new fact checkers that would include having them perform a set of fact checks and include a lengthy set of interview questions designed to assess their ability to identify potential or perceived conflicts of interest and work through potential biases.

Even more strangely, despite asking in two separate emails how Snopes assesses its fact checkers and whether it performs intra- and inter-rater reliability assessments, David responded only that fact checkers work together collaboratively and did not respond to further requests for more detail and did not answer whether Snopes uses any sort of assessment scoring or ongoing testing process to assess its fact checkers.

This raises exceptionally grave concerns about the internal workings of Snopes and why it is not more forthcoming about its assessment process. Arguing that because multiple fact checkers might work on an article, reliability is not a concern, is a false argument that shows a concerning lack of understanding about reliability and accuracy. Imagine a team of 50 staunch climate deniers all working collaboratively to debunk a new scientific study showing a clear link between industrial pollution and climate change. The very large team size does not make up for the lack of diversity of opinion. Yet, David provided no comment on how Snopes does or does not explicitly force diversity of opinion in its ad-hoc fact checking teams.

A robust human rating workflow must regularly assess the accuracy and reproducibility of the scores generated by its human raters, even when they work collaboratively together. Typically this means that on a regular basis each fact checker or fact checker team is given the same article to fact check and the results compared across the groups. If one person or group regularly generates different results from the others, this is then evaluated to understand why. Similarly, an individual or group is also periodically given the same or nearly identical story from months prior to see if they give it the same rating as last time – this assesses whether they are consistent in their scoring.

More troubling is that we simply don’t know who contributed to a given fact check. David noted that Snopes’ “process is a highly collaborative one in which several different people may contribute to a single article,” but that “the result is typically credited to whoever wrote the initial draft.” David did not respond to a request for comment on why Snopes only lists a single author for each of its fact checks, rather than provide an acknowledgement section that lists all of the individuals who contributed to a given fact check.

One might argue that newspapers similarly do not acknowledge their fact checkers in the bylines of articles. Yet, in a newspaper workflow, fact checking typically occurs as an editorial function, double checking what a reporter wrote. At Snopes, fact checking is the core function of an article and thus if multiple people contributed to a fact check, it is surprising that absolutely no mention is made of them, given that at a newspaper all reporters contributing to a story are listed. Not only does this rob those individuals of credit, but perhaps most critically, it makes it impossible for outside entities to audit who is contributing to what fact check and to ensure that fact checkers who self-identify as strongly supportive or against particular topics are not assigned to fact check those topics to prevent the appearance of conflicts of interest or bias.

If privacy or safety of fact checkers is a concern, the site could simply use first name and last initials or pseudonyms. Having a master list of all fact checkers contributing in any way to a given fact check would go a long way towards establishing greater transparency to the fact checking process and Snopes’ internal controls on conflict of interest and bias.

David also did not respond to a request for comment on why Snopes fact checks rarely mention that they reached out to the authors of the article being fact checked to get their side of the story. Indeed, Journalism 101 teaches you that when you write an article presenting someone or something in a negative light, you must give them the opportunity to respond and provide their side of the story. Instead, Snopes typically focuses on the events being depicted in the article and contacts individuals and entities named in the story, but Snopes fact checks typically do not mention contacting the authors of the articles about those events to see if those reporters claim to have additional corroborating material, perhaps disclosed to them off the record.

In essence, in these cases Snopes performs “fact checking from afar,” rendering judgement on news stories without giving the original reporters the opportunity for comment. David did not respond to a request for comment on this or why the site does not have a dedicated appeals page for authors of stories which Snopes has labeled false to contest that label and he also did not respond to a request to provide further detail on whether Snopes has a written formal appeals process or how it handles such requests.

Putting this all together, we simply don’t know if the Daily Mail story is completely false, completely true or somewhere in the middle. Snopes itself has not issued a formal response to the article and its founder David Mikkelson responded by email that he was unable to address many of the claims due to a confidentiality clause in his divorce settlement. This creates a deeply unsettling environment in which when one tries to fact check the fact checker, the answer is the equivalent of “its secret.” Moreover, David’s responses regarding the hiring of strongly partisan fact checkers and his lack of response on screening and assessment protocols present a deeply troubling picture of a secretive black box that acts as ultimate arbitrator of truth, yet reveals little of its inner workings. This is precisely the same approach used by Facebook for its former Trending Topics team and more recently its hate speech rules (the company did not respond to a request for comment).

From the outside, Silicon Valley looks like a gleaming tower of technological perfection. Yet, once the curtain is pulled back, we see that behind that shimmering façade is a warehouse of good old fashioned humans, subject to all the same biases and fallibility, but with their results now laundered through the sheen of computerized infallibility. Even my colleagues who work in the journalism community and by their nature skeptical, had assumed that Snopes must have rigorous screening procedures, constant inter- and intra-rater evaluations and ongoing assessments and a total transparency mandate. Yet, the truth is that we simply have no visibility into the organization’s inner workings and its founder declined to shed further light into its operations for this article.

Regardless of whether the Daily Mail article is correct in its claims about Snopes, at the least what does emerge from my exchanges with Snopes’ founder is the image of the ultimate black box presenting a gleaming veneer of ultimate arbitration of truth, yet with absolutely no insight into its inner workings. While technology pundits decry the black boxes of the algorithms that increasingly power companies like Facebook, they have forgotten that even the human-powered sites offer us little visibility into how they function.

At the end of the day, it is clear that before we rush to place fact checking organizations like Snopes in charge of arbitrating what is “truth” on Facebook, we need to have a lot more understanding of how they function internally and much greater transparency into their work.
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Old 04-13-2017, 01:15 PM
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Default Re: Tips to Spot False News

And the Daily Mail story mentioned in my two previous posts, well here it is.
Check out the pictures at the link.



Quote:
EXCLUSIVE: 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

By Alana Goodman For Dailymail.com

PUBLISHED: 14:57 EDT, 21 December 2016 | UPDATED: 19:12 EDT, 23 December 2016

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'.

Husband and wife: David Mikkelson is now married to Snopes.com staff member Elyssa Young - but also engaged in a bitter legal battle with his former wife Barbara with whom he set up the site +15

Wedding: Elyssa Young - who maintains a website offering her services as an escort - and Davik Mikkelson married in November. The wedding party included two other Snopes.com workers +15

Arbiter: Facebook announced that Snopes.com was one of the organizations to which it would turn for 'fact-checking' when questions are raised over the veracity of news stories +15

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.

Staff member: Elyssa Young is also know as Erin O'Bryn and maintains a website adveritising her services as an escort with photographs of her over the years +15

Political: Elyssa Young, under her other name Eryn O'Bryn, keeps her escort website running. An online review of her services was posted in March 2015 +15

Adult model: Elyssa Young was a model for adult magazines in the 1990s, and appears to have continued posing for photographs until recently. +15

Adult model: Elyssa Young was a model for adult magazines in the 1990s. She is now an administrative worker at Snopes.com and travels with her husband David Mikkleson, its co-founder +15

Legal filings seen by DailyMail.com detail a lengthy financial and corporate dispute which stretches long after their divorce, and which one lawyer describes as 'contentious' in court documents.

In the filings, Barbara, 57, has accused her former husband, 56, of 'raiding the corporate business Bardav bank account for his personal use and attorney fees' without consulting her.

She also claimed he embezzled $98,000 from the company over the course of four years 'which he expended upon himself and the prostitutes he hired'.
When contacted by the Dailymail.com, David said he was legally prohibited from discussing his ex-wife’s allegations.

'I'd love to respond, but unfortunately the terms of a binding settlement agreement preclude me from publicly discussing the details of our divorce,' he said. Barbara Mikkelson said: 'No comment.'

In court records, Barbara alleged that her ex-husband removed thousands from their business accounts between April and June of 2016 to pay for trips for him and his 'girlfriend'.

She claimed he spent nearly $10,000 on a 24-day 'personal vacation' in India this year and expensed his girlfriend's plane ticket to Buenos Aires.
'He’s been depleting the corporate account by spending monies from it on his personal expenses,' said Barbara in a filing last June.

First wife: Lawyers in court documents described Barbara Mikkelson's split from David, with whom she co-founded the Snopes.com website, as contentious.

She added that he needed to be suspended from using the company checkbook and debit card 'right away before there are no funds left in the corporate account'.

David and his attorneys countered that the India visit was a legitimate business trip, and that he only expensed a fraction - 22.5 per cent - of the total cost of the excursion.

He said he was considering setting up a fact-checking website in India, and wanted to get a sense of the culture. He also said he went to Buenos Aires to attend an international fact-checking conference.

Meanwhile, his attorneys blasted Barbara as 'a "loose cannon" who simply must have her way'.

One major point of contention was David’s 2016 salary – which Barbara was responsible for approving.

David wanted his salary raised from $240,000 to $360,000 – arguing that this would still put him below the 'industry standards' and that he should be paid up to $720,000 a year.

'As I said, based on industry standards and our revenues, my salary should be about 2x to 3x what it is now,' he wrote in an email to Barbara in April 2016. 'I'll settle for $360K with the understanding that it’s to be retroactive to the start of the year.'
Barbara responded that his request was 'not even in the galaxy of reasonable'.

So bitter was the dispute, that they even fell out over the arbiter they had appointed to settle disputes, meaning that Facebook's arbiter cannot even agree on its own arbiter.

The court papers also detail the substantial financial rewards 'fact-checking' brought the former couple - and how they have even fallen out over remuneration.

The divorce settlement stipulated that David Mikkelson receive a salary of $240,000 a year in 2015, while both of the former couple were due to receive $20,000 a month as a draw against profits, as well as a share of any net profit the company made after those payments.

The settlement also noted: 'Each party waives his or her claim upon Bardav's revenues received by Husband into his PayPal account and spent by him, accountant's fees for restating tax returns to reflect previously unreported income...'

The nature of those revenues and fees, and of the unreported income is not disclosed.

The settlement saw savings, IRAS and stockholdings of well over $1.5 million given to Barbara, while she renounced claim on their marital home in Calabasas, California, in return for a payment of $660,000.

David kept their joint baseball card collection, a savings account with $1.59 million balance, and other savings worth more than $300,000. They also agreed to split the company checking account's $240,000 balance at the end of 2015 after his salary had been paid and a $50,000 float left.


Read more: Facebook 'fact checker' Snopes.com accused of defrauding website to pay for prostitutes | Daily Mail Online
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
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