Wikipedia is what is what is because it accepts multiple publications as sources for further referencing and it’s hard to think of a time when an online encyclopedia went all out to ban a source so publicly. But it turns out that the editors of Wikipedia is issuing a near-total ban on using British tabloid Daily Mail on being used a source. They described the British news company as “generally unreliable” because of its “poor fact checking, sensationalism and flat-out fabrication” history.
“Based on the requests for comments section [on the reliable sources noticeboard], volunteer editors on English Wikipedia have come to a consensus that the Daily Mail is ‘generally unreliable and its use as a reference is to be generally prohibited, especially when other more reliable sources exist’.
“Consensus has determined that the Daily Mail (including its online version dailymail.co.uk) is generally unreliable, and its use as a reference is to be generally prohibited, especially when other more reliable sources exist. As a result, the Daily Mail should not be used for determining notability, nor should it be used as a source in articles. An edit filter should be put in place, going forward to warn editors attempting to use the Daily Mail as a reference.”
Now the reason the ban it not total is because the more accurate stories according to the Wikipedia editors will be kept online of course. This also means that articles citing Daily Mail as a company (and not the news it reports) and its journalists may be acceptable while advising volunteers at Wikipedia to replace about 12,000 existing links.
According to fellow British news organisation The Guardian, the move is highly unusual especially for a website that’s built on information from sources. But the Daily Mail move didn’t just happen overnight as Wikipedia have been debating the reliability of the site since 2015 but only decided to act now after much reviews. There are other obviously biased outlets out there especially state sponsored media outlets but they haven’t seen this level of ban by Wikipedia even though the company says it is open to debate on other sources that may be unreliable in future. This could open the door to a massive reassessment of sources which may see many “unfair” politically affiliated outlets banned.
But this underscores the recent push by websites like Facebook and Google to combat fake news which many blame for the rise of the populist agenda taking over the world. Google and Facebook recently teamed up to fight fake news ahead of the April Presidential election in France while Germany is taking measures to stem the flow of fake news in the country.