Few people say that social media is good for them, but even so they use it in all its forms every day, according to foreign media. And these platforms make billions of dollars by attracting users and getting them to click on ads. Now, a Wikipedia founder hopes to change that through a new social media site that will be supported by users rather than big advertisers.
Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales will launch a social media site called WT: Social. The platform, which aims to compete with Facebook and Twitter, will run not on advertising funding but through user donations.
Mr Wales told the Financial Times: “There is a problem with the business model of social media companies, pure advertising. The facts tell us that the biggest winners are, and are, low-quality content. “
WT: Social started with Wikitribune, a website that publishes original news stories that include community fact-checking and editorial ability. Then the latter didn’t get much attention, so Wales moved it on to a new platform and put more effort into it.
“We don’t optimize our algorithms to make you addicted, let you click, we’re just making money when you volunteer to support us — which means our goal is not to click but to make sense of your life.” “
The site will still publish articles, but its algorithm will first list the latest stories rather than prioritize what users like. However, the Wikipedia founder is willing to add a Reddit-like upvote feature.
Wales said he wanted to nurture a niche that was sometimes censored or deleted by Facebook and Twitter. But that doesn’t mean people can post whatever they want without worrying about deleting it, and Wales doesn’t want to turn it into a hate network.
“We’re going to create an environment where bad characters are removed because it’s right and not because it’s going to suddenly affect our bottom line,” he says. “
Currently, the WT: Social, which goes live in a month, has about 50,000 users. The platform will be free to users, but currently registered users will be placed on a “short” waiting list, meaning they need to donate or invite friends to sign up.
“Obviously, our goal is not 50,000 or 500,000, but 50 million and 500 million,” Wales said. “
It is clear that this move is in line with the general philosophy of the Wikipedia community. Earlier this year, Larry Sanger, another Wikipedia founder, wrote a “digital declaration of independence” and on July 4 and 5 called for a boycott of social media platforms.
It remains to be seen whether WT: Social will take its place in the competition with social media giants such as Facebook and Twitter. Others have tried it before but it seems to have failed, even as search giant Google tries to break into the market.