Elon Musk, the owner of X (formerly Twitter), has made a bold offer to donate $1 billion to Wikipedia on the condition that the online encyclopedia changes its name to ‘D*ckipedia’ for a minimum of one year. In addition to this offer, Musk has accused Wikipedia of being biased due to the hierarchical structure of its editing system.
Taking to his social media platform X, Musk claimed that Wikipedia is inherently hierarchical and, as a result, is subject to the biases of higher-ranking editors, regardless of their merits. He contrasted this with the approach taken by his new Community Notes feature on X, highlighting a fundamental difference between the two platforms.
The Community Notes feature on X allows users to add clarifications to posts that may be deemed controversial by many people. However, in order for these notes to be approved, consensus must be reached by individuals with historically different points of view. Musk emphasized that even as the controlling shareholder of the company, he cannot change the outcome of a Note, solidifying the platform’s commitment to a diverse range of perspectives.
In response to a fundraising message by Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales, Musk urged editors to add information about his generous pledge to his wiki page. He humorously requested they add the appropriate cow and poop emojis to the page, all in the interest of accuracy. Musk also questioned the necessity of significant funds for the Wikimedia Foundation, the charity hosting Wikipedia servers, stating that a copy of the entire text could easily fit on a phone.
Some X users quickly added a community note to Musk’s post, highlighting that Wikipedia receives tens of billions of page views and tens of millions of page edits per month. They also mentioned that the Wikimedia Foundation’s finances are regularly audited, countering Musk’s claim that significant funds are unnecessary. Interestingly, this community note has since disappeared from the platform.
This move by Musk comes amidst previous clashes between him and Wales over content moderation policies. In May, Wales criticized Musk for allegedly succumbing to Turkish pressure to censor speech on X prior to a general election in the country. However, Musk defended his platform’s principles, arguing that X stands strong for freedom of expression.
Critics of Wikipedia have long accused the encyclopedia of deviating from its core principle of being a neutral source of knowledge. Co-founder Larry Sanger even went so far as to denounce the platform as a place where US elites and intelligence agencies engage in information warfare against the public.
In conclusion, Elon Musk has made a remarkable offer to donate $1 billion to Wikipedia if the online encyclopedia renames itself ‘D*ckipedia’ for at least one year. While this offer is unconventional, it highlights Musk’s belief that Wikipedia is biased due to its hierarchical editing system. This offer has sparked discussion and various responses within the online community, further underscoring the importance of neutrality and diverse perspectives in the realm of online information sharing.