OPW - Feb 18 - It seems there was some considerable inaccuracies in the articles by Snopes and The Verge regarding Cupid/Noosphere. Here's the take-down defamation letter we received today, along with the corrections. Listed verbatim, for the record.
We curate the news and simply share what we think is important to CEOs and leaders of Internet dating companies. - Mark Brooks
We're writing regarding an article you've posted on February 13. It was reposted from The Verge, but the article is based on misleading and biased research prepared by Snopes.
The following "facts", which you have reproduced, are blatantly incorrect:
2013 Cupid plc BBC 'investigation'
- You state "Before swooping in and buying up Firefly's assets, Polyakov had a history with dating sites, according to the Snopes investigation. For years, the Ukrainian businessman ran an online dating company called Cupid that was publicly traded in the UK. In 2013, though, the BBC published an investigation that alleged Cupid "seemed to use fake messages or profiles to entice people to subscribe."
- The link contained within your story is https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-23409947
- You have failed to note that an independent audit by KPMG found no truth to the allegations.
- You have failed to note that the BBC link contained in your article clearly states that the article is "subject to a legal complaint".
- You have failed to verify that Mr Max Polyakov was not connected in any way with Cupid plc in 2013, the time of the alleged activity. This verification would have been very simple to obtain, by checking the publicly available records of Cupid plc at Companies House, which shows Mr Polyakov resigned as a director of Cupid plc in March 2012 (https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/SC368538/officers) over 12 months prior to any allegations arising.
- Your article unfairly and misleadingly suggests that Mr Polyakov was connected to Cupid plc at the time of investigations. He was not.
Inference to Noosphere Ventures involvement in dating activity
- Your article is entirely misleading in its attempts to suggest that "shady" dating business activity is conducted by Noosphere Ventures, and funding Noosphere's space project Firefly Aerospace.
- Whether or not Mr Polyakov had personal shareholdings in Cupid plc or any other roles connected to the dating industry is irrelevant to the activities of the Noosphere Ventures.
- Noosphere Ventures does not hold any shareholdings in any dating business, therefore the suggestion that Firefly Aerospace is funded by dating business activity is impossible.
- There is further evidence of false claims being made in the Snopes article to which you consistently refer (and rely upon in your reporting), specifically:
- Reference is made to a court case involving Mr David Guzman and NSI (Holdings) Ltd. Snopes purport this litigation existed at the time of its reporting (February 2020). However a quick check of court records shows in fact that this case was dismissed by the court on Jan 13, 2020 (https://www.pacermonitor.com/public/case/28253024/Guzman_v_NSI_Holdings_Limited) (and it's relevance to Noosphere Ventures and Firefly remains unclear).
- Reference is made to a UK "subsidiary" of Firefly Aerospace. Firefly Aersopace does not have a UK subsidiary, it does not own any shareholding in any UK company which may or may not have a similar previous name. All shareholder information for that specific company is available for verification on Companies House in the UK.
- Reference is made to "potential FTC violations" by entities that the article attempts to (unsuccessfully) link to Mr Polyakov. During his tenure with dating companies in the past, there has never been any investigation, correspondence or other communication in respect of any of Mr Polyakov's prior businesses and the FTC (or indeed any similar regulator in any territory).
We will kindly ask you to read carefully our official statement with a refutation https://noosphereventures.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Statement.pdf and remove article as it is not a trustworthy news. Otherwise we will be obliged to consider information on your web page as defamatory statement that might be a basis for a lawsuit.