A highly commented editor discussion on Wikipedia came to the conclusion that the Daily Mail, a known British news outlet, is not a reliable source to cite on English language articles so they decided to flag it as unreliable content. Arguments against the online newspaper include accusations of “sensationalism.”
Commenters argue that the Mail tends to put out stories which contain, in some cases, fabricated statements and facts. The outlet’s focus on the entertainment industry and celebrity life might certainly lead to this behavior.
The outlet’s focus on the entertainment industry and celebrity life might certainly lead to this behavior.
Detractors of this motion argue that there is no justification for the ban as long as one single case exists in which the Daily Mail proves to be a reliable source.
Moreover, some of them say, the problem is not the paper itself but wiki editors’ poor choice of sources overall.
It has been a while since Wikipedia decided to ban something
The move is what many people know as a ‘blanket ban,’ meaning that the decision concerns the entire website and includes no exceptions whatsoever.
Following this ruling, using the Daily Mail as a source on Wikipedia could lead to an article’s instant flagging as unreliable.
Wikipedia does not tend to ban websites from appearing as sources regularly. In fact, many note that it still allows sourcing from online news outlets that have a reputation of political leaning, such as Fox News or Russia Today.
The Wikimedia Foundation, Wikipedia’s de facto owner, later stated the Daily Mail was the protagonist of an ongoing discussion on reliability and the problem of misinformation, going as far back as 2015.
Other sites included in this discussion are TMZ, The Sun, and most state-run media outlets all over the world. The Daily Mail’s ban will only allow it to appear as a source only in ‘exceptional circumstances’ though Wikipedia did not specify what this meant.
Wikipedia and the war against ‘fake news.’
Large tech companies that rely on information to conduct business, such as Facebook and Google, have already begun taking firm steps to combat the growing threat of fake news and misinformation.
Wikipedia is the go-to source for many people around the world, mostly students, as it provides instant information and is community-driven. The encyclopedia’s public structure could be both a benefit and a hazard in this day an age.
On the one hand, the ability for anyone to edit can be helpful to see all sides of a given topic, a historical event, for example. On the other, that makes it harder for the million and a half articles currently available in English to stay updated and misinformation-free.