learn to trust the internet again

By | August 4, 2022

Wikipedia can serve as a model to combat online disinformation and mistrust.

learn to trust the internet again

learn to trust the internet again

Every day, we have to navigate online what is real and what is fake. The Internet is an integral part of our daily lives, yet it is constantly filled with inaccuracies, misinformation and viral “fake news”.

The spread of false information can be fatal. This can prevent family members from getting the life-saving vaccine. It can undermine elections and inspire hate reactions. The Echo Chamber has divided local communities across an ideological spectrum that at times seem irreconcilable. At our dinner tables, we often can’t agree on the “facts.”

Twenty years ago, the Internet was a very different place. The early days of the web were a time of great experimentation and curiosity. The first pioneers of the Internet were rooted in the values ​​of open sources and open knowledge, setting new frontiers for the communication of information. It makes our world feel smaller and bigger at the same time, because we are more connected than ever.

When I created Wikipedia in 2001, I was inspired by this vision of digital collaboration. Wikipedia was founded on the idea that knowledge can be spread through collaborative efforts rather than through top-down authority. Thanks to the work and generosity of volunteers around the world.

Wikipedia has become a living, breathing and ever-growing record of all human knowledge, accessible both online and offline. As your go-to source for facts on any topic from around the world, Wikipedia was, and still is, a cornerstone of the free web.

Wikipedia is also the last remnant of the early ideals of the Internet. And because we worry about a future without reliable information that we can all agree on, Wikipedia is not the only exception. This is a blueprint to restore public confidence on the web.

This year, as Wikipedia celebrates its 20th anniversary, it remains a prime example of how collaboration and collective action can be used to promote facts rather than amplify misinformation. I believe there are three main lessons we can learn from Wikipedia’s success in building the Internet of the future.

First, we must accept our personal responsibility for the truth. As we discover more about how influential a dozen people can be in spreading disinformation far and wide, Wikipedia sheds light on the role each of us plays in providing good information.

Anyone can edit Wikipedia, and that means hundreds of thousands of people are involved in protecting the integrity of the knowledge we find on it.

As the COVID-19 pandemic changes lives as we know it, volunteer editors at Wikipedia are working in real time to combat misinformation and ensure science-based access to the world’s 188 languages ​​and every continent Have access to health resources. Through an open and decentralized model, Wikipedia creates an unmatched amount of accurate and life-saving content.

Wikipedia shows us that rebuilding trust on the Internet requires our active participation as Internet users, as fact checkers and important consumers of the information we read.

Once we recognize our role as users in building the future of the Internet, the second lesson is that news and information providers, including large technology companies, need to be factual, reliable and up-to-date on a collective Must come to an agreement. Information. Date. The content you read on Wikipedia is guided by community-generated policies that outline the common values ​​of neutrality, verifiable and transparency, policies created by and for volunteer editors.

Regardless of their political leanings or backgrounds, all of our editors must adhere to the same standards for fact-checking. Shared norms and policies developed by users can be a powerful tool for combating misinformation and rebuilding trust in Internet institutions. Social media platforms can learn from this model and follow through by adopting more democratic processes.

In recent years, I’ve been encouraged to see some platforms introduce new user-developed policies to combat misinformation, but we can do more. Our users have opinions about how they engage on this platform and how effectively it establishes common standards of correctness and accuracy. It’s time to listen.

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