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Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger said on Wednesday that articles available on the online encyclopedia could no longer be trusted as unbiased information since they cater to the interests of the leftist volunteers who edit them and remove any news that doesn’t fit their agenda.
Sanger, 53, who founded Wikipedia in 2001 with Jimmy Wales, said the crowdsourcing project has betrayed its original mission by reflecting the views of the “establishment.”
“You can trust [Wikipedia] to give a reliably establishment point of view on pretty much everything. Can you trust it always to give you the truth? Well, it depends on what you think the truth is,” Sanger said on LockdownTV with Freddie Sayers.
He further sentenced that most media or information sources such as Wikipedia “seem to assume that there is only one legitimate, defensible version of the truth for any controversial question.”
“If only one version of the facts is allowed, that gives a huge incentive to wealthy and powerful people to seize control of sites like Wikipedia in order to shore up their power. And they do that” he said.
According to his position, the site is no longer committed to neutrality and does not present different points of view, but now has a left-wing bias. “The days of Wikipedia’s robust commitment to neutrality are long gone,” Sanger said.
He also referred to Wikipedia’s beginnings between 2004 and 2005 and explained that it was then possible to enter the site in search of information about any “controversial news event” and find multiple viewpoints “reasonably and fairly laid out.”
He even recalled that, if someone disagreed with what was posted, they could enter the Wikipedia forums to debate and “having their points of view heard.” “It was a lot easier back then for people to participate,” he added.
But Sanger believes that has changed in recent years. “Wikipedia is known now by everyone to have a lot of influence in the world, so there’s a big, nasty, complex game being played behind the scenes to make the article say what somebody wants them to say,” he explained.
A clear example: Joe Biden’s Wikipedia article
To illustrate the ideological bias, Sanger used the article devoted to President Joe Biden on Wikipedia as an example. “It has very little by way of the concerns that republicans have had about him. So if you want to have something remotely resembling the republican point of view about Biden, you’re not going to get it from the article,” Sanger said.
He further commented that there should be “at least one paragraph on the Ukraine scandal” in the content of the page devoted to Biden, and that “what little” is mentioned about it is “extremely biased and reads like his lawyer’s defense.” In fact, there is an entire Wikipedia article dedicated to the matter, but he slams it as a “conspiracy theory.”
When podcast moderator Freddie Sayers asked Sanger if that was happening because there is “a team of Democratic editors” deciding what gets published on Wikipedia, or if it was a lack of interest by Republican editors in contributing, Sanger “pretty certainly” leaned toward the former option.
“I think that there are a lot of people who would be highly motivated to go in and make the article more neutral, more politically neutral, but they’re not allowed to. It’s quite remarkable, considering that the neutrality policy is still in place,” he specified.
For Sanger this is the most notorious way in which Wikipedia has changed, and he considers that not only has it become biased in the field of politics, but that the site’s pro-establishment stance impacts articles on Eastern medicine or Christianity, and offers only “the liberal point of view” in this regard.
“Wikipedia’s ideological and religious bias is real and troubling, particularly in a resource that continues to be treated by many as an unbiased reference work,” he added.
Sanger had previously referred to Wikipedia as a “broken system” in a 2019 interview. In that vein, in a May 2020 blog post, he described the encyclopedia as “badly biased” and claimed that the site no longer had an effective neutrality policy, but now “Wikipedia now touts controversial points of view on politics, religion, and science.”
Another interesting example was pointed out by Fox News: the Wikipedia pages dedicated to socialism and communism contain no discussion of the genocides committed by communist regimes in which more than a hundred million people were killed or starved to death.
Tomás Lugo, journalist and writer. Born in Venezuela and graduated in Social Communication. Has written for international media outlets. Currently living in Colombia // Tomás Lugo, periodista y articulista. Nacido en Venezuela y graduado en Comunicación Social. Ha escrito para medios internacionales. Actualmente reside en Colombia.