Editors, sources and the 'go back' button: Wikipedia's framework for beating misinformation





wikipedia, misinformation, covid, infodemic, platforms


The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the challenges and deadly consequences of misinformation circulating across digital platforms. Wikipedia is emerging from that communication crisis as both an effective information site, as well as offering wider lessons for the Internet age derived from the editorial structure that it has created. While Facebook, YouTube and Twitter struggled during the pandemic to contain the spread of misinformation, Wikipedia has shown itself to be a nimble, independent publisher, able to block erroneous content and provide rigorous health information, referenced to credible sources. The ‘anyone-can-edit’ site, is powered by a global community of volunteers, who collectively determine its policies and content, as well as policing the site. In the pandemic’s first year, 97,000 Wikipedia editors collaborated on 6,950 COVID-19 related articles in 188 languages, which were read more than 653 million times. This paper investigates the editorial framework developed by the Wikipedia community, and identifies three key factors as proving successful in the fight against medical misinformation in a global pandemic — the editors, their sources and the technological affordances of the platform.




How to Cite

Avieson, B. (2022). Editors, sources and the ’go back’ button: Wikipedia’s framework for beating misinformation. First Monday, 27(11). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v27i11.12754