Is Wikipedia the Good Cop? Fighting Fake News and Conspiracy Videos

Noam Cohen has a great article out this week in The Washington Post entitled “Conspiracy videos? Fake news? Enter Wikipedia, the ‘good cop’ of the Internet.”

According to Cohen, Wikipedia is a great example of what the internet was intended to be:

When Tim Berners-Lee conceived the Web, he imagined that it would look a lot like Wikipedia; that is, ‘a system in which sharing what you know or thought should be as easy as learning what someone else knew.’ . . . It’s easy to make fun of Wikipedia for its incessant arguments about the nationality of Frédéric Chopin or what to call the Sea of Japan. And its priorities can seem upside down, with more attention given to “The Simpsons” than Jane Austen. Women and minorities are underrepresented. There are cliques that can be hostile to new people interested in contributing. But fundamentally, from my perspective as an occasional Wikipedia contributor and frequent Wikipedia reader, the project gets the big questions right.

Cohen probes the long-lasting and complex relationship between Wikipedia and Google. While Google was responsible for much of the traffic to Wikipedia, today Google displays a lot of Wikipedia snippets on Google search itself. Cohen is concerned that this is an example of Big Tech not respecting Wikipedia as an “idealistic noncommercial project.”

Read more of Cohen’s perspective over at The Washington Post.