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

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

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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