Wikipedia recently removed the Daily Mail from the list of reliable sources for having a “reputation for poor fact checking, sensationalism and flat-out fabrication.” The online encyclopaedia’s editors voted to ban the British publication but the move is highly unusual for the site.
The Wikimedia Foundation recently said that the Mail has been under scrutiny since at least early 2015. The group said that its volunteer editors of the site’s English version have come to the conclusion that the U.S. newspaper is “generally unreliable.” As a result, editors will use other, more reliable sources for the reference section, and the Mail’s use as reference will remain “generally prohibited”.
In addition, editors will now have to replace old references to the British tabloid with more reliable sources, if they exist. Wikipedia said that its editors are encouraged to handle any media outlet with “common sense and caution”. It is worth noting that the Moscow-backed RT and Fox News are still on the list of reliable sources.
Hillbillyholiday is the editor who first proposed to blacklist the Mail in January. Ever since, other editors have weighed in on the issue. The ban’s opponents argue that the Mail is “sometimes” accurate, that it had been better in the past, and that there are other media outlets that are also unreliable. Critics say the ban is driven by a personal dislike of the newspaper.
A Wikipedia editor confirmed that the Daily Mail would no longer be used as source in the encyclopaedia’s articles. The site will set in place an edit filter that will warn editors that they are about to use an unreliable news source when they try to insert a link to the publication.
On the other hand, not all links to the Mail will be prohibited. These links will likely appear in articles that are about the newspapers or its contributors. And editors could use the links when they consider it necessary. The filter however will prompt editors to find alternatives and not use the links.
The website reportedly asked volunteers to check around 12,000 existing links to the British newspaper and replace them with more reliable sources if they can. Wikipedia’s decision is part of a larger plan to combat fake news on the Internet.
The Daily Mail hasn’t replied to a request for comment.
The British publication is already in hot water with the U.S. First Lady Melania Trump who sued the newspaper for falsely claiming that she worked as an elite escort in her youth.
Mrs. Trump recently filed a $150 million defamation lawsuit against the newspaper and hired the same attorney that helped Hulk Hogan bring Gawker down. The First Lady filed the new suit on Monday in a New York state court.
She says that an article published on August 2016 barred her from making millions of dollars during her husband campaign when she was “one of the most photographed women in the world”. Mrs. Trump is the first U.S. First Lady to file a lawsuit.
Image Source: Wikimedia