Wikipedia's Jimmy Wales has launched an alternative to Facebook and Twitter

Cal Jeffrey

TS Evangelist
Staff member

Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales is launching a social-media website called WT: Social. The platform aims to compete with Facebook and Twitter, except instead of funding it using advertising, Wales is taking a page from the Wikipedia playbook and financing it through user donations.

"The business model of social media companies, of pure advertising, is problematic," Wales told Financial Times. "It turns out the huge winner is low-quality content."

WT: Social got its start as Wikitribune, a site that published original news stories with the community fact-checking and sub-editing articles. The venture never gained much traction, so Wales is moving it to the new platform with a more social networking focus.

"Instead of optimizing our algorithm to addict you and keep you clicking, we will only make money if you voluntarily choose to support us – which means that our goal is not clicks but actually being meaningful to your life."

The site will still post articles, but instead of giving priority to content with the most "Likes," its algorithms will list the newest stories first. However, the founder is open to adding an "upvote" feature similar to Reddit's down the road.

Wales says that he hopes to nurture niche groups, which are sometimes censored or removed by Facebook and Twitter. However, this does not mean people can post whatever they want without fear of removal. Wales does not want it to devolve into a network of hate.

"We will foster an environment where bad actors are removed because it is right, not because it suddenly affects our bottom-line," he said.

Currently, WT: Social has about 50,000 users, and it only went live a month ago. The platform will be free to join, but right now, users signing up are put on a "short" waiting list unless they donate or invite friends to register.

"Obviously the ambition is not 50,000 or 500,000 but 50m and 500m," Wales stated.

"If we grow from 400 users today (you’re in on the ground floor!) to 400 million, we will have revolutionized the Internet and shown a better and more healthy way to share information and collaborate with each other."

The move falls in line with a general philosophy within the Wikipedia community. Earlier this year, fellow Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger wrote a "Declaration of Digital Independence" and called for people to boycott social media platforms on July 4 and 5.

"We possess the digital rights of free speech, privacy, and security," said Sanger at the time. "Like old King George, Big Social Media have systematically abused our rights."

Whether WT: Social can gain ground against social media titans like Facebook and Twitter remains to be seen. Others have tried it with little luck. Even search giant Google's attempt at breaking into the market with Google+ was no match to the size and power of Facebook.

Asking users to donate also seems like a mark against the alternative platform. However, Wikipedia has been operating for 18 years on that model. We'll have to wait to see if the network can make any headway against some very tough competition.

Masthead image credit: Joi Ito via Flickr

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fluffydestroyer

TS Booster
Wikipedia sexually harrass people to "donate" money with a 2/3 banner on top of their page. Of course their "customers" wont be a product. I mean can't see wikipedia asking for money in any way lmao

/sarcasm
 
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psycros

TS Evangelist
Why would anyone fund a service that's completely biased due to an activist, heavily partisan user base? Like Wikipedia itself, this will just be another echo chamber for people with an agenda and too much free time.
 

Yynxs

TS Addict
Wikipedia? That would be the self-appointed censor controlled platform for partisan information and rewritten history who's editors won't even accept correction from the people who lived the history and have the photos to prove it? That Wiki?
 

Evernessince

地獄らしい人間動物園
Since when was this the case? I always found Wikipedia to be pretty bipartisan.
Since the right started pushing that conspiracy theory. Wikipedia provides a full list of edits, contributors, ect and yet no one can seem to prove where exactly they are against the right.

"The party asked us to deny the evidence of your eyes and ears"

When there is a credible source of information whom you can't bully out of the way, you attack it in other ways.
 

wiyosaya

TS Evangelist
Just what the world needs - yet another platform on which to waste time and pay for the privilege of doing so.
 
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wiyosaya

TS Evangelist
Why would anyone fund a service that's completely biased due to an activist, heavily partisan user base? Like Wikipedia itself, this will just be another echo chamber for people with an agenda and too much free time.
Careful what you say! The deep state is hiding under your bed. :laughing:
 
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Squid Surprise

TS Evangelist
Wikipedia? That would be the self-appointed censor controlled platform for partisan information and rewritten history who's editors won't even accept correction from the people who lived the history and have the photos to prove it? That Wiki?
Got any evidence to support this? As a few others have already posted, Wikipedia is actually pretty unbiased... especially compared to most other news outlets...

I await your response...
 

EClyde

TS Evangelist
Since the right started pushing that conspiracy theory. Wikipedia provides a full list of edits, contributors, ect and yet no one can seem to prove where exactly they are against the right.

"The party asked us to deny the evidence of your eyes and ears"

When there is a credible source of information whom you can't bully out of the way, you attack it in other ways.
No reason to push.
 
They want $ I say OK just not mine
Nobody forces you to donate money to Wikipedia. They are funded by voluntary donations.

Yes, they run a banner on their website asking for donations sometimes, but that's no different than the salvation army ringing their bells in front of your grocery store. Nobody is compelling you to donate.
 
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captaincranky

TechSpot Addict
Since when is Wikipedia a news site? I thought it was supposed to be an online encyclopedia. At least that's the way I use it, and it works fine.

It really is hard to politicize a topic like "what's the difference between falcons and hawks?

Now the difference between "hawks & doves", that's political.

In fact, it would do most of you a great deal of good, to look over these Wiki articles on propaganda:



 
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kcidybom

TS Rookie
They want $ I say OK just not mine
LOL! Do you really think your $ are safe in your wallet just because you don't intentionally donate them? Not a chance. You have two choices; donate your $ with intent and retain some control over how they're used, or pretend you're out of the loop and keeping them all for yourself. As for me I'll go with any entity that openly asks for my conscious support rather than one that pretends not to all the while robbing me blind.
 
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EClyde

TS Evangelist
LOL! Do you really think your $ are safe in your wallet just because you don't intentionally donate them? Not a chance. You have two choices; donate your $ with intent and retain some control over how they're used, or pretend you're out of the loop and keeping them all for yourself. As for me I'll go with any entity that openly asks for my conscious support rather than one that pretends not to all the while robbing me blind.
Have at em Bunky
 

EClyde

TS Evangelist
Nobody forces you to donate money to Wikipedia. They are funded by voluntary donations.

Yes, they run a banner on their website asking for donations sometimes, but that's no different than the salvation army ringing their bells in front of your grocery store. Nobody is compelling you to donate.
Are you sure no one forces me? I am glad to have that off my mind.
 

wtwilson3

TS Rookie
Wikipedia? That would be the self-appointed censor controlled platform for partisan information and rewritten history who's editors won't even accept correction from the people who lived the history and have the photos to prove it? That Wiki?
Whose
 

captaincranky

TechSpot Addict
Wikipedia? That would be the self-appointed censor controlled platform for partisan information and rewritten history who's editors won't even accept correction from the people who lived the history and have the photos to prove it? That Wiki?
So is Fox News, so WTF are you complaining about?

I can't use Fox news as an encyclopedia. With Wiki I can, and gain intellectual information in the process, while ignoring the news and whatever bias it may display. IMO, that's a win, win.
 
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Maybe what I was just asking for- some smart person to make a new Facebook, but one where we're not being targeted by ads,and free of Zuckerberg. Social media has it's problems, but everyone bitches about it, while using it. I've enjoyed being able to use it to keep in touch with people, and connect. Acting like it's all bad, is just ridiculous. As far as paying for it- it's asking for voluntary donations. It needs money to run somehow. Everyone chip in a little, or keep our 'free' social media and keep having our information collected to be targeted for ads? Plus, Zuckerberg is a **** human, and it'd be great to break up with his platform.
 

Yynxs

TS Addict
Wikipedia - Bot on Bot Wars: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/feb/23/wikipedia-bot-editing-war-study

Unfortunately Rival Publishers: https://www.howtogeek.com/trivia/to-halt-an-editing-war-wikipedia-had-to-ban-all-ip-addresses-belonging-to/

Labeling Stefan Molyneux Alt-Right: https://medium.com/@tdadlerwp/edit-war-on-wikipedia-over-labeling-stefan-molyneux-alt-right-2755dfd99902

2011 https://www.quora.com/What-is-it-like-to-be-in-a-Wikipedia-edit-war

This can go on for a while so here's the DDG link. Skip past the wiki explaining wiki stuff: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=wikipedia+editing+war&t=ffab&ia=web

Treat Wiki like you treat CNN, Fox, Associated Press, Congress, the CIA, the Clintons, etc. Buy your salt in bulk.