Wikipedia’s sharp Left turn leads its co-founder to set up a free-speech alternative
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March 2, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger is launching a free speech alternative to the online encyclopedia as he attempts to fight back against the left-wing “propaganda” that Wikipedia promotes, in addition to his historic concerns about the site’s “porn problem.”
Speaking February 23 on Just the News, Sanger pointed to how Wikipedia entries were formulated in a way that “completely ignores any conservative, libertarian, or critical treatment of the subject.”
Sanger mentioned how this treatment, especially of topics such as socialism, was not education but “propaganda.” It would “take time,” Sanger added, “for people to be educated about what Wikipedia has changed into.”
While the platform did not start out with a left-leaning bias, Sanger explained that a decade ago “as liberals, or leftists made, their march through the institutions, Wikipedia became one of those influential institutions. They started their march and basically took it over.”
Wikipedia’s censorship does not stop with conservatives, though, as Sanger observed that a possible target would be “anything that is contrary to the establishment, broadly speaking.”
As a result of such widespread censorship and curtailing of information, there is the risk that children could grow up learning a doctored version of history and reality. In an essay posted on his website last May, Sanger presented a number of examples of Wikipedia entries that demonstrated significant liberal bias in the writing and editing, often hiding or altering key facts.
Sanger dubbed the page about Barack Obama “almost a total whitewash,” saying other such examples of liberal treatment of political issues, political figures, and religious topics were “embarrassingly easy to find.”
He noted that the piece on LGBT adoption “includes several talking points in favor of LGBT adoption rights but omits any arguments against.” Wikipedia also sought to undermine the Christian teaching on Jesus Christ, with Sanger writing that the entry contained “pretty egregious instances of bias.”
“It is time for Wikipedia to come clean and admit that it has abandoned NPOV (i.e., neutrality as a policy),” he wrote.
In the face of such overt, yet unnoticed, altering of truth, or hiding of any opposing arguments, Sanger is working on his own efforts to develop a platform in which free speech would reign and censorship would not. The Encyclosphere would be an “open encyclopaedia network” and be a “free, giant, global knowledge commons, without any central control.”
To effect his goal, Sanger is setting up the Knowledge Standards Foundation, which aims at “defining tech standards for encyclopedias,” and would refuse any donations from Silicon Valley, corporations and governments in order to protect neutrality.
The Encylosphere project would “build a network, one that like the internet itself, all of humanity owns and no-one exclusively controls.”
It would be a concept whereby individuals could write articles and have them rated “as part of a completely decentralized knowledge network, with no individual, group, corporation, or government in charge of the whole.”
The possibility for a liberal bias could of course still exist in such a plan if left-wing readers and writers only favorably rated articles that supported their point of view. However, Sanger seems confident that the concept can maintain neutrality.
“We could create a knowledge commons, defined by neutral, open, technical standards and protocols: a network that decentralizes encyclopedias, exactly as the Blogosphere has done for blogs,” he said.
Recent statistics report an average of 263 million page views on Wikipedia per month. These hundreds of millions of viewers could well be reading doctored content, as Joseph Farah, the CEO and editor-in-chief of WorldNetDaily (WND), wrote recently.
Farah described the site as “a wholesale purveyor of lies and slander unlike any other the world has ever known,” pointing to numerous errors, insults and libels in the entry about himself, which had been written by anonymous trolls.
In the wake of former President Donald Trump’s ban from social media platforms, Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales provided a clear demonstration of its political leaning, accusing Trump of spreading disinformation and being abusive. Wales hinted that Big Tech should have censored the president earlier, saying they “did a poor job of dealing with him for a very, very long time. He was clearly spreading disinformation. He was clearly being abusive to people.”
In October, Wikipedia banned editors from displaying “userboxes” that would demonstrate opposition to same-sex “marriage” and support for traditional marriage. Userboxes supporting traditional marriage were deemed to be “inflammatory or divisive” and promoting “bigotry.”
In 2012, Sanger spoke to LifeSiteNews, describing how one of the principal uses of Wikipedia was for viewing pornography. He warned porn comes up automatically on some searches, even if the search topics are apparently unrelated, and that the site “features some of the most disgusting sorts of porn you can imagine, while being heavily used by children.”
Sanger is not alone in his concerns about the site, however, as conservatives have been ringing alarm bells over Wikipedia for years.
In 2019, Breitbart senior tech editor Allum Bokhari stated that the platform is “a left-wing cabal” and linked to an article on the subject by the online magazine’s T.D. Adler, who pointed out “five of the biggest cases of political bias that gripped the site in 2017.”
They included an “anti-Trump editing spree” ordered by a University of California-Berkeley instructor; the burial of scandals at CNN; the removal of the Wikipedia sources for fired Google employee James Damore’s famous memo and the addition of remarks defaming Damore; the omission of Antifa’s “violent far-left tendencies”; and a “purge of media sources critical of claims Russia hacked the 2016 U.S. presidential elections.”