Jimmy Wales, the founder of online encyclopedia Wikipedia, is launching an online platform to combat the spread of fake news.
"The news is broken, but we've figured out how to fix it,” Wales said in a promoting video of the project called Wikitribune.
Like Wikipedia, Wikitribune is free to read and free from advertising. It aims to bring journalists and a community of volunteers together to provide readers with authored, fact-checked and verified articles.
“We want to bring some of that fact-based, fact-checking mentality that we know from Wikipedia to news,” Wales says.
With more and more people consuming news online nowadays, the huge profit generated by fake news and its potential political impact have caused an ongoing debate.
Platforms like Google and Facebook were heavily criticized for the spread of fake news during last year’s U.S. presidential election. Studies show fake news stories favoring then-candidate Donald Trump were shared millions of times more often than those favoring Hillary Clinton.
“Someone I know convinced me to give Trump 100 days before making my mind up,” Wales told The Guardian, “but then on day one Kellyanne Conway came out and said her ‘alternative facts’ line. That was when I really decided to move forward.”
Fake News in a Multipolar World
Wales told Wired the core editorial mission of Wikitribune is "facts matter." It will be covering general news, politics and other niche topics that people are interested in.
Wikitribune is now under a fundraising campaign to hire 10 professional journalists by its initial start date. Later on, the website will be supported by a monthly donation of US$10 from supporters. They can also send gifts to the website in different amount and frequency.
Those contributors who support the site financially will eventually be able to advise on the topics they want Wikitribune to explore.
"Wikitribune is news by the people and for the people," Wales said.