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Elon Musk vs Wikipedia: How new Twitter owner is exposing the left-wing bias of the user-edited ‘encyclopedia’

Musk's reaction came after YouTuber Ian Miles Cheong pointed out that has been a discussion going on Wikipedia to remove the 'Twitter Files' page. Ian said, "Wikipedia is voting on the deletion of the entry for Elon Musk's Twitter Files because the editors have deemed it a "nothing burger"

On December 6 (local time), Elon Musk again mocked Wikipedia for its blatant Leftist bias. In a tweet, he said, “Most of Earth: “The MSM is biased.” Wikipedia: “Cite MSM source to confirm this claim.” Wikipedia has a non-trivial left-wing bias.”

He also tagged the co-founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales and asked him about his thoughts on the user-edited ‘encyclopedia’ biased nature.

Musk’s reaction came after YouTuber Ian Miles Cheong pointed out that has been a discussion going on Wikipedia to remove the ‘Twitter Files’ page. Ian said, “Wikipedia is voting on the deletion of the entry for Elon Musk’s Twitter Files because the editors have deemed it a “nothing burger” that is “not notable” because the media didn’t give it enough coverage. These people work hand in hand with the MSM to shape the narrative.”

OpIndia looked at the Wikipedia discussion of ‘Twitter Files’ on Wikipedia. While the creator of the article on Wikipedia, who goes by the username Wikisempra, has been trying to put forward his point that the article deserves to stay, several Wikipedia editors found it “nothingburger”. For those unaware, nothingburder means “something that is or turns out to be insignificant or lacking in substance”.

After it was suggested that the article should be deleted, Wikisempra expressed his dismay and said, “To suggest the article for deletion without a single argument on said suggestion is no way to conduct a Wikipedia where we attempt, to be honest. I took care in referencing and am still formatting said references – it is appalling that users would describe work as a “disaster” without saying why.” One of the editors at Wikipedia replied to him and called the Twitter Files nothing burger. “It makes sense to delete this nothing burger. It is not notable enough for its own article and should be in the main Hunter Biden laptop controversy article. The prevailing consensus has been that the files were underwhelming, not bringing to light anything that was not known about Twitter’s handling of the story beforehand,” he said. He also linked to a report from Newsweek to support his claims.

The discussion describes how the ‘Twitter Files’ were only about the Hunter Biden story and nothing else. However, the real essence of the story was not about Hunter Biden but about a highly influential social media platform meddling with the elections.

Elon Musk vs Wikipedia

Elon has a history of highlighting Wikipedia’s biased nature. Replying to a Twitter handle that shares quotes by Elon Musk, who shared one of his famous quotes suggesting how history is being distorted at Wikipedia, he said, “In the past, victory would mean that your enemies are no longer around. These days, they’re not only alive & well but have lots of time on their hands to edit Wikipedia!

Notably, in April 2022, after Elon Musk offered to buy Twitter, he openly called out Wikipedia’s bias and its editors’ complicated relationship with facts. While replying to a Twitter user about how he acquired Tesla and built the empire, Musk said, “They say history is written by the victors, but not on Wikipedia if the losing party is still alive & has lots of time on their hands!”

Musk was referring to the unavailability of the story behind the acquisition of Tesla, which was a shell company and turning it into a multi-billion dollar venture. His statement came as a reply to a discussion where Vaibhav Sisinty of Growth School had said Musk was not the founder of Tesla, but he acquired it. A Twitter user Willy Woo countered how Musk changed the business model of a dying company and fired the founders before it sunk.

This was not the first time Musk had raised questions about the content available on Wikipedia. In 2021 he said, “My wiki is such a dumpster fire. That’s how you know it isn’t curated.”

The Twitter Files

On December 2, freelance journalist Matt Taibbi published a Twitter thread detailing how the former Legal Head of the company, Vijaya Gadde, was at the helm of the censorship exercise to kill the Hunter Biden laptop story under the garb of vague and arbitrary rules. It is pertinent to note that Gadde was accused of refusing to take down child porn even as the victim’s parents had pleaded for removal.

The internal communications revealed how the Twitter moderation team routinely received directives from the Biden campaign team to censor tweets just before the 2020 US elections. “More to review from the Biden team,” read a response by a Twitter executive dated October 24, 2020. Though the expose revolved around the Hunter Biden story by the New York Post, it was just a drop in the ocean of possible actions Twitter took at the state’s behest.

Interestingly, Taibbi alleged that former CEO and founder of Twitter Jack Dorsey was “kept in the dark” over the coverup of the Hunter Biden story. Since the story broke, there have been calls for booking Gadde for what she did during her tenure at Twitter. Furthermore, Musk announced there would be the second edition of Twitter Files that were supposed to be published on December 3. However, the second edition is still awaited.

‘Wikipedia should never be trusted’

In July 2021, co-founder of Wikipedia Larry Sanger spoke to OpIndia in detail about the user-edited encyclopedia. He said that Wikipedia lost its neutral nature in 2009, before which editors from all ideologies debated equally before deciding what should be published on the platform. He said that the recent issues from Covid to Biden, articles on everything on Wikipedia have become partisan, mainly supporting the Biden administration in such issues and blacking out information that does now show the Democrats in cheerful colour.

Interestingly, after Elon Musk’s tweet on Wikipedia, Sanger suggested in a reply that he has been working on a new platform that will bring encyclopedia articles from various encyclopedias in PDF format in a ‘truly decentralised’ manner. He said, “We have exciting things in the works. My son (an awesome dev) has built a Chromium plugin that appends encyclosphere search results to Goo and DDG, fetches the articles via WebTorrent, and seeds articles for other users in idle tabs. Truly decentralised. Launching this month.”

He added, “We’re bringing public domain encyclopedias into the encyclosphere, not just as PDFs—we’re doing the work of extracting individual articles and making them into ZWI files anybody can use. We’ll have millions of articles from dozens (100s?) of encyclopedias within a few months.”

OpIndia has extensively reported on the biased nature of Wikipedia. Our coverage can be seen here.

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