Wikipedia founder: X (Twitter) has been taken over by lunatics and trolls

Speaking about the impact of Musk's acquisition of Twitter on the social media market, Jimmy Wales told CNBC reporters at the Web Summit that he sees it as a big problem

by Sededin Dedovic
Wikipedia founder: X (Twitter) has been taken over by lunatics and trolls
© Rosdiana Ciaravolo / Getty Images

Earlier this year, Elon Musk created a stir by offering Wikipedia a substantial sum of one billion dollars in exchange for a peculiar condition – a name change to "Dickipedia." However, this comedic proposal was just a small blip in the series of controversial decisions made by Musk since he took over Twitter more than a year ago.

Criticism has been mounting against Musk for his management decisions, ranging from significant layoffs, including content moderation staff, to the rebranding of Twitter as "X." While Musk may seem impervious to public disapproval, the impact on the platform's revenue became evident as disapproving advertisers began withdrawing their campaigns.

The latest critic to voice concerns is Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, the world's largest online encyclopedia. Speaking at the Web Summit, Wales expressed his apprehension about Musk's influence on the social media market.

He noted a significant exodus of users from Twitter, particularly those he described as "thoughtful and serious," citing concerns about the platform being overrun by trolls and individuals lacking sanity. Despite attempts by CNBC reporters to seek a response from Musk's X platform, their efforts yielded no comment.

However, given Musk's penchant for direct communication through his social media profiles, it remains a possibility that he could respond to Wales's critique via his X profile. Relations between Musk and Wales have not been amicable, with Musk previously accusing Wikipedia of political bias.

The strained rapport between the Tesla CEO and the X platform owner and Wales was epitomized when Musk playfully offered a billion dollars to Wikipedia if it would rename itself as "Dickipedia." Jimmy Wales, on the other hand, has embarked on his own venture in the social network market.

This year, he initiated Trust Caffe, a pilot project aiming to create a "community of credible people." Diverging from the ad-centric model, Trust Caffe relies on voluntary membership fees to sustain itself and aims to publish only quality content rooted in truth, eschewing the trend of prioritizing content based on "viral popularity." As the dynamics of the social media landscape continue to evolve, it remains to be seen how these divergent approaches will shape the future of online discourse.