Wikipedia co-founder launches 'WikiTribune Social' to Rival Facebook and Twitter


Wikipedia's founders, Jamie Wales, launched Wikitribune in 2017, an online publication aimed to tackle fake news with original stories through reporters and "citizen journalists". The notion was to create a common space for journalists to tell consumers what was happening globally. Launched two years ago through a crowdfunding campaign; it failed because it was not able to maintain its business model.

Wikitribune never achieves its purpose, so now, Wales is shifting gear, relaunching Wikitribune as WikiTribune Social. A news sharing platform and social networking site that will help tackle fake news that is prevalent on other platforms. Wales hopes the platform will be an alternative to Twitter and Facebook.

Like Facebook and Twitter, WikiTribune Social will allow users to share articles. But it will be sponsored by donations instead of advertising. Wales said, the business ideal of social media firms, pure advertising, is challenging. It promotes low-quality content.

Not like Twitter and Facebook, which use algorithms to rank posts with the most comments or likes to the top, WikiTribune Social will first show the most recent links. It may include an up vote button later.

It will also help small, niche communities. We have witnessed how such communities can fester online. Wales said, “WikiTribune Social Promises to promote a situation where bad actors are removed, not because it affects our bottom-line, but because it is right.”

WikiTribune Social will be free to join, but for now, you either sign up for a waitlist, or make a donation, or invite friends. Only a month old, it has 50,000 users already, Wales told Financial Times, adding “Apparently the ambition is not to have 50,000 or 500,000 but 50 million and 500 million.” The platform will be similar to Twitter and Facebook, but Wales does not want it to expand massively, the platform will be funded by donations from users.

So far, WikiTribune Social had a waiting list for new subscribers because of its server capabilities. To promote the platform, users are allowed to invite a friend who will have direct access. For users who donate to the network, they can add about 200 users. And the community will eventually expand to add other language versions.

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