Thursday, October 21, 2021

Wikipedia’s next leader on preventing misinformation: ‘Neutrality requires understanding’

A major overhaul of the platform is imminent.

Wikipedia’s next leader on preventing misinformation: ‘Neutrality requires understanding.’

Who is heading up Wikipedia’s new efforts to tackle misinformation?

This week, the Wikimedia Foundation ( gave an update on the future of Wikipedia, its worldwide, crowdsourced encyclopaedia, even as a major overhaul of the platform is imminent.

The new strategies are designed to improve accuracy, improve links, and provide improved security to Wikipedia users.

Speaking at the conference, the Wikimedia Foundation’s Vice President of Strategy, Pam Duke, disclosed that the organisation had already conducted two major trials to find a more robust system for managing page tag information.

Learning from Wikipedia’s mistakes and the experience of many users, the Foundation went on to fix the problem of anonymous and misleading attempts to influence page title tags on Wikipedia articles.

“Getting the balance right between neutrality and objectivity requires understanding the context of a piece of content,” she said.

The announcement comes in the wake of the controversy around a number of questionable articles, some stating that Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu had died, that actor Tom Hanks was in a car accident, and that Meg Whitman, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, was under investigation by US federal investigators.

Wikipedia published last week an article on how to avoid misinformation online. In the article, one of the founders of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, said it was important to recognise that any attempt to properly tackle the issue on Wikipedia would only be successful if implemented “managing” Wikipedia and the Wikimedia Foundation.

“It is imperative to recognise that none of us are up to this task alone and that this problem must be integrated into the whole Wikimedia ethos,” he said.

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