WikiTribune: Wikipedia founder's Facebook rival passes 200,000 users just days after launching

Founder Jimmy Wales says it is 'still small by global standards, but an exciting start'

Anthony Cuthbertson
Tuesday 19 November 2019 16:20 GMT
Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales launched the WikiTribune social network to offer an alternative to Facebook
Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales launched the WikiTribune social network to offer an alternative to Facebook (AFP via Getty Images)

A new social network set up by Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales claims to have surpassed more than 200,000 members within days of its launch.

WT:Social, or WikiTribune, says it has ditched the data-driven business model popularised by Facebook, which monetises its users by serving them targeted ads.

In contrast, WikiTribune makes money in a similar way to online encyclopaedia Wikipedia, by relying on “the generosity of individual donors”.

The number of users remains just a fraction of Facebook’s userbase, which has grown to more than 2 billion users around the world since launching in 2004.

Mr Wales described the milestone on Twitter as “still small by global standards, but an exciting start”.

The site is an updated version of the original WikiTribune platform that was first launched in 2017 as a news wiki where volunteers could write and curate articles.

The new social network is similarly news focussed and is aimed at tackling the scourge of what Mr Wales described as “clickbait nonsense” that proliferates across other social media platforms.

“As social networks have grown, they’ve amplified the voices of bad actors across the globe,” the site’s welcome page states. “Fake news has influenced global events, and algorithms care only about ‘engagement’, and keeping people addicted to platforms without substance.

“WikiTribune wants to be different. We will never sell your data. Our platform survives on the generosity of individual donors to ensure privacy is protected and your social space is ad-free.”

After signing up, users are invited to select subwikis that suit their interests, such as political parties, sports teams or musicians.

Users are able to directly edit misleading headlines or flag posts that they think are problematic, as well as contribute their own content.

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