What we do
Lead Stories is an innovative fact checking and debunking website at the intersection of big data and journalism that launched in 2015. Our editorial team used the technology provided by Trendolizer™ (patent pending) to quickly find the most trending content on the internet to write about but our mantra has always been "Just Because It's Trending Doesn't Mean It's True."
Originally started as a site about what was currently trending on the internet in general (and in some cases if it was actually true) we gradually shifted into full time fact checking and debunking mode ever since the primaries of the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election. Nowadays we specifically hunt for trending stories from known fake news, satire or prank websites in order to debunk them as quickly as possible. Often we are one or two days ahead of other fact checking websites because we actively monitor the fake news ecosystem and we don't have to wait for reader tips or reports before getting started on a story. You can read more about how we work here.
Since February 2019 we are actively part of Facebook's partnership with third party fact checkers. Under the terms of this partnership we get access to listings of content that has been flagged as potentially false by Facebook's systems or its users and we can decide independently if we want to fact check it or not. In addition to this we can enter our fact checks into a tool provided by Facebook and Facebook then uses our data to help slow down the spread of false information on its platform. Facebook pays us to perform this service for them but they have no say or influence over what we fact check or what our conclusions are, nor do they want to.
Who we are
Lead Stories is mainly written by Maarten Schenk and Alan Duke (click the names for full biographies). Maarten is based in Europe (Belgium) while Alan is in the United States of America (California). Administrative and legal affairs are handled by Perry R. Sanders of Sanders Law Firm in Colorado Springs.
Lead Stories LLC is Colorado company formed by Maarten Schenk (Belgium), Alan Duke (California), Perry R. Sanders (Colorado) and John C. Goede (Florida). The company is self-funded with no outside investors and relies on advertising revenue and license fees for the use of the Trendolizer™ engine and is also funded with revenue derived from Facebook's third party fact checking partnership.
You can check our entry in the Colorado Secretary of State business registry here (note: if the link doesn't work simply click your 'back' button and reload the page).
If you need to contact us our contact information can be found here.
Financial information about our fact checking operation
In the past calendar year (2018) our expenses for running leadstories.com were as follows:
- Paid writing and technical staff: $91,920
- Hosting: $960
This was paid for with revenue from selling access to Trendolizer™ and advertising revenue from our sites. For privacy reasons we cannot reveal the list of Trendolizer users but none of them individually accounted for more than 5% of our revenue. We also received $102.000 from Facebook under the terms of the third party fact checking partnership. All revenue exceeding costs was used towards debt repayments.