The Wikimedia Foundation’s Executive Director Katherine Maher has an important piece out in Wired this week where she argues that companies that take advantage of Wikipedia, like Google and Facebook, should do more to help the site. My favorite part was the section where Maher noted how important Wikipedia has become in daily life, even to those who are not aware that they interact with it.
You may not realise how ubiquitous Wikipedia is in your everyday life, but its open, collaboratively-curated data is used across semantic, search and structured data platforms on the web. Voice assistants such as Siri, Alexa and Google Home source Wikipedia articles for general knowledge questions; Google’s knowledge panel features Wikipedia content for snippets and essential facts; Quora contributes to and utilises the Wikidata open data project to connect topics and improve user recommendations.
More recently, YouTube and Facebook have turned to Wikipedia for a new reason: to address their issues around fake news and conspiracy theories. YouTube said that they would begin linking to Wikipedia articles from conspiracy videos, in order to give users additional – often corrective – information about the topic of the video. And Facebook rolled out a feature using Wikipedia’s content to give users more information about the publication source of articles appearing in their feeds.
You can read the entirety of Maher’s excellent op-ed over at Wired.