19 February 2018
Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales has launched a new social network named WikiTribune Social aka WT:Social. It is a social network aimed at encouraging original and factual news stories and fighting against fake and clickbait stories. It follows the same business model as Wikipedia which means it focuses on donations over selling advertisements.
WT:Social is essentially a social media avatar of WikiTribune, a website Wales launched in 2017 with the same goal of fighting fake news. The latter wanted to be a platform for journalists and community to share factual stories with references to the story's origin and sources but it never took off. This is the reason Wales decided to take the core idea and spin it into a social network to attract more users.
It means real and meaningful news sharing is still the core idea at WT:Social but with the ability to comment on stories shared by others. For each news story shared on the platform, it highlights the publication behind the story as well as sources. While most social networks use algorithms to arrange news stories in feeds on the basis of user engagement, WT:Social will show all the stories in chronological order. Wales has said that they might allow users to "upvote" stories so that high-quality stories can be seen first.
The social network has categories called SubWikis which work the same way as Facebook Groups or sub-Reddits. They are aimed at helping users follow specific topics for curated news stories matching their interests. There is also support for adding and following hashtags to find relevant news stories.
As of now, WT:Social has over 50,000 users and will put you on a waiting list after a successful registration which is about to reach the 39,500 mark at the time of writing this. If you don't want to wait that long, you can get access to the social network earlier by either inviting your family, friends, and colleagues or by purchasing a subscription. The monthly subscription is priced at $12.99 and the annual subscription will cost you $100. Wales has said that over 200 users have donated to the site to support.