Could Wikipedia’s crowdsourcing be the solution to pandemic misinformation?

Could a crowdsourced health site solve public distrust in the CDC?


July 29, 2021

Renée DiResta is the technical research manager at the Stanford Internet Observatory, and she writes on internet misinformation.

In a recent piece for The Atlantic, she offered an interesting way to combat public distrust in the CDC’s official COVID-19 press releases.

  • DiResta’s idea: If the CDC launched a crowdsourced site that thousands of knowledgeable people could update and edit anytime, it might just garner more public trust than the CDC’s press releases.

Why would a site like Wikipedia help?

First of all, people use Wikipedia — a lot:

  • It’s the 13th most-visited site in the world.
  • Its articles garnered 266B page views and 585m edits in the last 12 months.

Studies show Wikipedia is highly reliable, and nearly every Big Tech company trusts it as a primary source for search results and flagging misinformation at scale.

  • The COVID-19 Wikipedia page is also the only top-100 Wiki page that did not exist at the beginning of 2020. (Translation: it’s a popular one.)

DiResta thinks a Wikipedia model where thousands of reputable contributors and editors (including folks outside government) can transparently relay and edit pandemic-related info could be the way to go.

What do you think?

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