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Monday, April 12, 2021

Everything you need to know about the ‘Wikipedia Scam’

Wikipedia scam trends on Twitter again after a youtube channel named 'String' tweets about the recent fundraising campaign by Wikipedia.

Wikipedia is the seventh most popular website in the world. On January 15, 2001, Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger created history by launching the world’s most trusted and popular information portal. Since then, the multilingual open-collaborative online encyclopedia has managed to gain millions of views on the website.

In 2015, Wikipedia launched its first fundraising online campaign. Many were taken aback by the pop-up donation message Wikipedia was showing. Wikipedia being a non-profit organization had previously stated that these funds raised by the donation will be used for the payments of editors and maintenance of the website. In a world full of commercialization and ads, Wikipedia also ensures that they haven’t changed their business model. Wikipedia strives on the Wiki movement of sharing free knowledge across the globe. This fundraising campaign was carried out by the parent company Wikimedia foundation.

From time to time, Wikipedia has asked for such donations to keep the urgency at ease and by urgency we mean money. In 2019, India was the fifth largest country to contribute to Wikipedia’s page views. The number nearly crossed over 750 million. Pat Pena, Director of Payment and Operations for Wikimedia Foundation had also written a blog about the fundraising campaign last year,

“Reader donations are critical to supporting Wikipedia’s global presence,” Pena wrote. “To meet the needs of readers in India and around the world, we operate an international technology infrastructure comparable to the world’s largest commercial websites.”

“We’re a non-profit that depends on donations to stay online and thriving, but 98% of our readers don’t give; they simply look the other way. If everyone who reads Wikipedia gave just a little, we could keep Wikipedia thriving for years to come. The price of a cup of coffee is all we ask.”

– Jimmy Wales, Founder, Wikimedia Foundation 

However last year when Wikipedia has launched its fundraising campaign, the online encyclopedia asked for a minimal donation of 150/- and a maximum of up to 50,000. In the wider context, Wikipedia has also received a donation from some corporate giants such as Amazon last year. Amazon had donated around 1 million dollars to Wikimedia Foundation.

“The Alexa team shares a similar vision with Wikipedia and the Wikimedia Foundation: To make it easier to share knowledge globally,” Amazon had then said in a statement.

Screengrab from 2020
Screengrab from 2020

Screengrab from 2020
Screengrab from 2020

Having said that, Wikipedia has once again started a fundraising campaign this year. A youtube channel name String has tweeted about the recent fundraising campaign by the information portal.

Last year, String made a video explaining why you should not be donating to the Wikipedia fundraiser. The video was largely based on the agenda of defaming the leftist media houses such as the wire and the quint whereas String also targeted the ‘open society foundation’.

According to the String, Wikipedia is a hinduphobic website and this donation drives funds the riots and mishappenings in the nation.

Soon after the String, netizens started reacting to this donation drive by Wikipedia.


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Mayuresh Patil
My Instagram says I am silent-ink, My Facebook says I am a Newsy Guy. And My Gmail says I am an Utter Chaos. To sum up, a combination of Creativity + Simplicity. Also, never underestimate the power of words.

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