The co-founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, has unveiled a new social network that’s designed to go against the ad-funded models loved by Facebook, Google and Twitter.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the social network seems to take its cues from the donation-based editable content found on Wikipedia which – while not quite a beacon of trust – is already a household name when it comes to reading up on any and every subject under the sun. WT:Social is funded by its users, and every post is editable – by everyone.
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Wales plans to use the ad-free model to fight back against the “fake news and low quality content” that can be found, well, all over on its competitors’ sites.
As a social network, WT:Social will presumably be home to more voices and opinions than Wikipedia. It isn’t yet clear how the user-moderated content system will tackle conflicting opinions and where the community will draw the line on fake news.
Wales explained the thought process behind WT:Social in a Twitter thread shared earlier this month.
“Existing social networks work on a pure advertising business model”, explained Wales. “This drives them to addict you, to keep you on the site. Their incentives are in the direction of outrage, radical discourse, trolling − not your human flourishing”.
“But I have a different idea: if only *some* people pay (maybe you! maybe not! pay if you want) then it can be free for everyone else. I think the people who will pay will be the ones who care the most about fixing the broken Internet culture that leads horribleness.”
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WT:Social is currently working on its infrastructure, leaving free users in a waiting list at the moment, but there is an option to skip the list by subscribing to the service or by inviting others to create an account.
A subscription will set you back £10 a month or £80 a year in the UK.