Snopes, the formerly trusted website to which web-surfers the world over turned in order to separate fact from fiction and truth from urban legend, has itself been revealed to be an elaborate hoax.
Stanley Gardner, the lead detective in the investigation, has been working leads for eight years.
"We're proud to announce that arrests have been made in this case," said Gardner at a press conference earlier today. "The world had been duped by these so-called 'truth seekers' for years, and now they're going to pay for misleading the public." Gardner said the operators gave out bogus information "for fun."
Detective Gardner said he knew something was wrong as early as 2001. "That picture of the tourist wearing a backpack who was standing on the roof of the World Trade Center just before the plane hit it sure looked real to me, and yet it was reported as fake. Who could have faked that dramatic picture? Something just wasn't right with that website."
After the FBI's press conference, attorneys for a large group of office workers in many different countries announced a class-action lawsuit against the operators.
According to attorney Stan Greenbaum, "Some of our clients who are now suing them have spent the better part of their careers in office cubicles forwarding informative emails to their friends and co-workers, only to be humiliated after one or more of the email recipients hit 'reply all' and allegedly debunked the valuable information our clients sent out using information obtained at their website -- information that turns out to be fictional."
"Now that this 'resource' has been proven a fraud and a hoax, mass emailers, who only cared about protecting their fellow human beings with useful news, are entitled to compensation."
Martin Leeberger, who once forwarded an email to his list of 342 contacts informing them that they could avoid an IRS audit by not using the pre-printed labels supplied with their tax forms, was not amused.
"After I sent out that email, I got back two dozen emails advising me to follow a link to their website that allegedly discredited what I'd sent out," Leeberger said. "I was publicly mocked and humiliated for being gullible, but as it turns out, you can avoid an IRS audit by not using the pre-printed labels. They're going to pay for this!"
At press time, representatives couldn't be reached for comment, and, ironically, many people are now turning to Snopes to see if this story is true. Some people never learn.