‘WT: Social’, this is the new social network of the creator of Wikipedia with which he wants to compete against Twitter and Facebook

Jimmy Wales, the creator of Wikipedia, is fed up with Twitter and Facebook, since it affirms that its business model is based on creating addiction in its users through incentives such as outrage, radical speeches and ‘trolling’. All with the aim of selling advertising and the data of its users, when it believes that they should be information platforms that help improve the world using the power of communication.

Yes, all this might sound like a utopia, but Wales is convinced that this social network model that does not seek to exploit its users is possible. And precisely under this premise is how it was born WT: Social, a new social network that borrows from Wikipedia’s donation model to offer a platform where the goal, according to Wales, is “to prioritize content and quality of information.”

A free social network, without ads and where anyone can edit the posts of others

Launched almost a month ago, WT: Social currently has almost 50,000 users. The platform is very similar to Twitter or Facebook, where you can share links and share them in the comments, and so far we can find all kinds of topics ranging from politics and technology to anime and beekeeping.

Once we enter WT: Social we can follow other users, in fact Jimmy Wales is the first on our list and appears by default, although we can stop following him if we wish. Wales mentions that this network is independent from Wikipedia although it is based on the donations model, as this will serve to not offer advertising.

One of the strengths of WT: Social, and with which they seek to differentiate themselves, is that “almost everything on the platform is editable”, that is, any user can edit other people’s posts, either to correct the information or to add more details. This could be a double-edged sword, although Wales claims it is an incentive to encourage good behavior, as if we post something false or hateful, someone else can edit it and even delete it.

According to Wales, this method of editing the content of others has proven its success on Wikipedia, so he will now seek to prove that it can also work on a social network. Here it should be noted that Wales is aware of the experiment and knows it might not work: “This is a crazy and radical experiment of mine, to which I am happy to say that I do not know all the answers.”

Wales explains that the only thing that the advertising model on social networks does is attract low-quality content, but if we add to this that it rewards those publications with more interaction and “likes”, then it is about a kind of popularity contest that adds nothing to the conversation and helps spread ‘fake news’.

For this reason, WT: Social will show the most recent posts first, Wales anticipates that there are no algorithms here. However, it has already announced that it will seek to incorporate a voting system, similar to Reddit, where users can vote on a publication to recommend it as “quality content” to their followers.

Wales anticipates that the model will not be massively profitable, but expect it to be sustainableAs he hopes that those who are also fed up with their data being traded and the hatred found on social media today will give WT: Social a try.

“People get fed up with all the rubbish around. News organizations are doing the best they can in this tough environment, but it’s really a problem with distribution.”

WikiTribune is the foundation of WT: Social

The idea behind WT: Social is not newIn fact, Wales himself tried it in 2017 when he launched WikiTribune, a platform that sought to offer attractive stories to users. But it was a closed environment fed by collaborators known as “citizen journalists.”

What is this? This is an evolution of the concept of WikiTribune as I came to realize that the problem of fake news and low quality content is as much about social networks (facebook and twitter in particular) as it is about news sites. 3/

– Jimmy Wales (@jimmy_wales) November 6, 2019

WikiTribune closed a few weeks ago and is now transformed into WT: Social, which maintains the base in engaging stories but now adding the collaborative social factor. The platform will not have moderators, as Wales believes he can trust the community, and more so those who will donate to keep WT: Social free of toxic elements.

Groups can currently be created, but in the future Wales hopes to build communities within WT: Social, something similar to subreddits, which have their own user base and are sustainable through donations from the community itself.

The other thing is that in order to succeed, in order to replace (yes, I am nervous to even say that word out loud, but let’s be bold!) Existing poisonous social networks, I need everyone to join and invite invite invite invite recruit recruit recruit.8 /

– Jimmy Wales (@jimmy_wales) November 6, 2019

On paper it all sounds attractive, but much of the success of WT: Social will depend on the community. This new social network is now available and anyone can take a look. So far, access is only via the web, but it is already in the future plans to have an app for smartphones.

Of course, because it is just starting up and the capacity of the site is not very large, there is a queue that allows only a limited number of users at a time, a queue that can be skipped when making donations or using this link that corresponds to a invitation generated from my profile in this new network.