Larry Sanger, co-founder of Wikipedia, says the website can no longer be trusted, claiming it is now a host for left-leaning “propaganda.”
Sanger spoke with an online blog called UnHerd on Wednesday to discuss why he left the organization in 2007. In the interview conducted by Freddie Sayers, Sanger said he helped begin the encyclopedia in 2001 with a group of libertarians on the basis that it would offer an unbiased look at controversial issues, however, he now describes the site’s founding as “ironic.”
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“Wikipedia is pretty reliably establishment in its viewpoint, whatever the viewpoint is, which is ironic considering its origins from a couple of libertarians who, at least in the beginning, were really tolerant and open to all sorts of anti-establishment views being canvassed within the article,” he remarks (The Epoch Times).
Now, Sanger said, Wikipedia “seems to assume that there is only one legitimate defensible version of the truth on any controversial question.” He went as far as to say that the perspective presented is overwhelmingly left-leaning. “The word for it is propaganda when it’s systematic, and that’s really what we’re dealing with on Wikipedia.”
Sanger also criticized how the site prevents the sourcing of right-wing media: “You can’t cite the Daily Mail at all. You can’t cite Fox News on socio-political issues either. It’s banned. So what does that mean? It means that if a controversy does not appear in the mainstream center-Left media, then it’s not going to appear on Wikipedia.”
When questioned about why this is happening, Sanger attributed the leftward shift to the overall “influence” held by Wikipedia. He said the site “is known now by everyone to have a lot of influence in the world. So there’s a very big, nasty, complex game being played behind the scenes to make them say what somebody wants them to say.”
Indeed the website’s reach is the world’s fifth largest, bringing in just over 6 billion users each month. Facebook and Twitter came in third and fourth for most monthly visitors, sites which have both recently been criticized by Republicans for censoring more conservative content (Visual Capitalist).
A 2020 study by Pew Research Center revealed that nearly three-fourths of U.S. adults believe it is very or somewhat likely that social media sites intentionally censor political viewpoints they find disagreeable. While this constitutes a majority of adults in both parties, 90 percent of Republicans say this censorship is likely, which is a 5 percent increase from 2018.