Elon Musk Just Slammed Wikipedia Over This One Page

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Cannabis, aliens, human population growth – it seems like Elon Musk has an opinion about any essential or newsy topic. This weekend the Tesla founder and the world's richest man with an estimated net worth of $263 billion decided to share his opinion about the world's most crucial homework source — Wikipedia. It was a multibillionaire's reaction to the encyclopedia platform's controversial decision that suspended the editing of the "recession" page. Read on to learn what caused Musk to react so strongly and why Wikipedia edits matter. 

1

Wiki Lock

"Wikipedia blocked users from revising its 'recession' page after visitors to the site engaged in a frantic editing war over the definition of the term," reports the NY Post. According to the newspaper, a Wikipedia user known as Soibangla edited the "recession" page and removed reference to the standard definition of the term."There is no global consensus on the definition of a recession," Soibangla commented. 

After the controversy, Wikipedia editors added a lock, which means that users cannot make additions or modifications to the page. 

2

Musk Blasts Wikipedia

These changes caused a reaction from many internet users, including Elon Musk. "Wikipedia is losing its objectivity," Musk tweeted, tagging Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales in a tweet on Friday.

"Two hours later, the post had already received more than 164,000 likes. Musk's influence is significant: the billionaire has more than 102.3 million Twitter followers," reports The Street.

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3

Wikipedia's Semi-Protection

A spokeswoman from the Wikimedia Foundation (the nonprofit that operates Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects) defended the decision, writing, "It's not uncommon for topics in the news to receive sudden interest on Wikipedia," the spokesperson said in an emailed statement. "Volunteer editors know this, and have created tools and mechanisms for responding to an influx of edits on articles that are in the public eye in order to maintain the standards of neutrality and verifiability that govern the site. Protecting an article is one common tool they use." 

She added that the controversial article on Wikipedia will be "semi-protected" until August 3rd.

"At which point, other users will be able to edit it again, but their edits will be reviewed by other volunteers before being visible to most readers. Semi-protected articles can only be edited by logged-in users whose accounts are at least 4 days old and have made at least 10 edits. This means that anonymous editors (editing without a Wikipedia account) are not able to edit the article."

4

Wikipedia Articles Influence Decision-Makers

The Wikipedia articles have a significant on decision-makers, according to a new study

Wikipedia pages influence judicial thinking, with judges citing legal cases 20% more often after new Wikipedia articles describing them were written, researchers at MIT and Maynooth University in Ireland have found.

"The study, detailed Wednesday, shows that legal minds are similar to those of students, hobbyists, celebrity fans and just about anybody else trying to look up information on the internet. Wikipedia, with millions of articles, is a broadly useful resource whose pages often rank high in search engines' results," CNET reports.

"It is not difficult to imagine a well-resourced litigant encouraging his legal team to integrate their own analysis of a relevant precedent into a Wikipedia article on the case at an early stage of litigation," said Neil Thompson, an MIT researcher and lead author of the study.

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5

Stormy Week For Multibillionaire

Recent weeks haven't supplied a great press run for Musk. Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that Tesla founder had had an affair with the wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin. Musk not only strongly denied the affair, but he used Twitter to fire back at the media

As the WSJ article stated, "Over the past two months, Mr. Musk's personal life has drawn considerable attention. He has been accused of exposing himself to a flight attendant at his aerospace company, SpaceX, which he has denied; the publication Business Insider reported he had two children late last year with a female executive at another company he co-founded, Neuralink; and one of his 10 children has publicly disavowed him." And Musk has controversially backed out a deal to buy Twitter.