NewsNational News


Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales is launching a news website

Posted at 9:37 AM, Apr 25, 2017

The founder of Wikipedia says he's on a mission to fight fake news.

Jimmy Wales is launching a news platform that will bring journalists together with an army of volunteer fact checkers. He's calling the site "Wikitribune."

Its main goal? Fighting fake news.

"We want to make sure that you read fact-based articles that have a real impact in both local and global events," the publication's website states.

The site will publish news stories written by professional journalists. But in a page borrowed from Wikipedia, internet users will be able to propose factual corrections and additions. The changes will be reviewed by volunteer fact checkers.

Wikitribune says it will be transparent about its sources. It will post the full transcripts of interviews, as well as video and audio, "to the maximum extent possible."

The language used will be "factual and neutral."

"It takes professional, standards-based journalism, and incorporates the radical idea from the world of wiki that a community of volunteers can and will reliably protect the integrity of information," said Wales.

The project will be funded through contributions from supporters, rather than advertising or subscriptions.

Wales said that "Wikitribune" is designed to help counteract fake news spread on social media.

"[Fake news] is literally designed to show us what we want to see, to confirm our biases, and to keep us clicking at all cost," Wales said. "It fundamentally breaks the news."

But experts are skeptical.

Charlie Beckett, a professor at the London School of Economics, said that while any initiative that boosts trust and transparency in journalism is welcome, the danger is that it will appeal to the sort of people who are already "media literate."

"I wonder whether it will be able to scale up to make a significant impact on the information sphere -- especially on social networks such as Facebook where the main problems of fake news and misinformation occur," he added.

Wikipedia itself has been accused of hosting misleading or inaccurate information. At 10 edits per second, the internet encyclopedia has sometimes found it difficult to fight those who deliberately make false claims.

In recent years, the site has invested in new tech to identify what it calls "Wikipedia vandalism." It has also hired more administrators to police the site.

Wikipedia recently barring citations of The Daily Mail after branding the tabloid newspaper as "generally unreliable."