Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales has announced the launch of a new online publication called Wikitribune which aims to fight “fake news” on the internet.
The Guardian reports that Wikitribune plans to report on general topics such as US and UK politics but will also be reporting on science and tech news. The publication plans to pay their reporters through a crowdfunding campaign. Supporters of the crowdfunding campaign will have a say in what topics are covered on the website, and Wales has stated that he intends to have readers fact-check and sub-edit articles on the site.
Wales described Wikitribune as “news by the people and for the people” and went on to say, “This will be the first time that professional journalists and citizen journalists will work side-by-side as equals writing stories as they happen, editing them live as they develop, and at all times backed by a community checking and rechecking all facts.”
Wales stated that the US election was a motivating factor in founding the website. “Someone I know convinced me to give Trump 100 days before making my mind up,” he said, “but then on day one Kellyanne Conway came out and said her ‘alternative facts’ line. That was when I really decided to move forward.”
Wales hopes to hire the website’s first journalists “as soon as possible,” maybe even before June 8th when the UK election is set to take place. The publication is set to launch today, the 25th of April, with a crowdfunding campaign selling “support packages” to fund the initial journalists being hired. “If you take a look at Wikipedia, it’s noisy and not a perfect place, but for true fake news, there’s been almost no impact on the Wikipedia community,” said Wales.
“The volunteers are experienced enough to know it’s nonsense, and have an ethos saying: ‘No, we’re here for neutral facts’: that community knows it from the ground up,” Wales continued. “If you take as an example the bitcoin community, they’re a very active and obsessed community. There’s a lot of news that comes out in the field, and I think they’d love to be able to raise money to hire a journalist and put them on the bitcoin/blockchain beat.”
Breitbart has reported on in the past questions about the impartiality of Wikipedia. In June, after the shooting at Pulse nightclub carried out by Omar Mateen, who pledged his allegiance to ISIS before the attack in Orlando, Wikipedia did their level best to distance Mateen from Islam. Wikipedia removed the attack from the Islamist Terrorist Attacks list and referred to the incident primarily as a “shooting” instead of a terrorist attack.
In another instance, after Google faced controversy for their celebration of far-left activist and Osama bin Laden ally Yuri Kochiyama with their Google doodle, Wikipedia attempted to scrub all references of the praise that Kochiyama made towards bin Laden and an array of other controversial dictators. An editing war soon began between those who wanted to portray Kochiyama’s numerous quotes of praise accurately and those who attempted to hide the truth, citing “anti-Islamic edits” as a reason to dismiss these facts.