Wikimedia Foundaion

Not a Post-Fact World: Better-Informed Citizenries through Wikipedia

Lead Organization

Wikimedia Foundaion

San Francisco, California, United States

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To learn more about – or provide significant funding to – this project, please contact Lever for Change.

Project Summary

Misinformation is dramatically affecting our world – undermining democractic institutions and dividing societies. Concurrently, much of the world has little access to knowledge in their first language at all. Humanity is facing critical challenges – from climate change to political polarization – all hampered by disinformation or lack of information. Wikipedia has become a refuge of reliable information – a nonprofit resource with 50 million articles in 300 languages used by people around the world more than 500 million times each day.With our 2030 strategy, the Wikimedia Foundation is poised to accelerate our programs and scale our infrastructure to reach hundreds of millions of new knowledge seekers – including those in the poorest parts of the world where access to information is scarce. Our initiatives will support better informed societies – and help humanity address our critical challenges.

Problem Statement

The world faces coordinated and relentless disinformation campaigns by bad actors, unscrupulous companies, and oppressive regimes, acting in the pursuit of ideology, profit, and power, against the interest of humankind. Every day brings evidence of the consequences of disinformation. Doctored videos instigate lynchings. Fake news enables electoral manipulation and undermines democratic institutions. Vaccines don't cause autism, but ignorance spreads measles. Concurrently, much of the world lives in information voids. The next billion are coming online, but the Internet doesn’t speak their languages. Information is far from equal, even on Wikipedia. English Wikipedia has 5.9 million articles, while Hindi Wikipedia has only 132,000. As our challenges mount, historically marginalized people remain the most vulnerable. Persistent knowledge inequities often prevent those most acutely affected by global challenges from participating in their solutions. Increasing the amount and availability of quality knowledge, through a trusted, transparent, global resource, directly responds to these challenges. When people are better informed, they are better equipped to build societies in which they want to live.

Solution Overview

Without counterweight, distorted truths retain their strength. Wikipedia works by inviting everyone to be a critical reader: review sources, question intentions, and challenge how ideas are presented. This transparency and openness serves as a bulwark against the spread of disinformation. Making Wikipedia accessible for millions of new people, including those in regions where access to information is unreliable or scarce, can be an effective counter to both the challenge of disinformation and information gaps. The specifics of our plans for growth over the next five years are detailed in our “Medium-Term Plan,” which points the way toward our 2030 strategy. We’ll know we’re making progress when our content grows in key languages, and when more people from India, Nigeria, and other target areas are reading and contributing to Wikipedia. We’ll measure readership growth with our internal analytics tools. We’ll also evaluate how much we are raising awareness of Wikipedia among those coming online, as well as how much we are increasing our readers’ awareness and understanding of critical issues. We expect our impact to accelerate as our work moves ahead. Over five years, we’re planning for each new year to reach millions and millions of more people across South Asia, the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa, and other regions. These outcome metrics are detailed in our Medium-Term Plan. We’ll know we are beginning to create the systems-level change we seek when coordinated efforts to misinform are less effective, and citizens are able to have informed discussions about the world’s greatest challenges.

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