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Wikipedia Co-Founder Creating Rival Encyclopedia Platform

Maxim Sorokopud Maxim Sorokopud
29th April 2021
Wikipedia Co-Founder Creating Rival Encyclopedia Platform
Sanger first announced the project in 2019 (Getty Images).

The Claim

The co-founder of Wikipedia has announced that he is creating a Wikipedia rival in response to the site's leftist bias.

Emerging story

In early 2021, a range of conspiracy theory websites began posting articles and social media posts that claimed one of the founders of Wikipedia was creating a rival encyclopedia platform. These articles all stated that the founder now considered Wikipedia to be suffering from “leftist domination” or “leftist bias.” 

These social media posts soon became popular, with some gaining hundreds of interactions: 

A supporting image within the article body
A supporting image within the article body
A supporting image within the article body

Misbar’s Analysis

While it is true to state that Larry Sanger, the co-founder of Wikipedia, is attempting to create a rival platform, it is not exactly accurate to call this information news, as it has been public knowledge for over a year. Additionally, many of the articles do not highlight that Sanger has been uninvolved with Wikipedia for almost 20 years. 

Larry Sanger has had no involvement with Wikipedia since 2002, when he left the organization. Since 2002, Sanger has been involved in the development of a range of projects that present information in a fashion similar to Wikipedia but with different focuses, such as Infobitt.com, which attempted to become the Wikipedia for news, and Citizendium, an expert guided encyclopedia. 

The Wikipedia rival that Sanger is currently working upon, Encyclosphere, is not a new project. Sanger first announced the project in 2019 on his website. In this announcement, Sanger described bias within Wikipedia’s articles. As of April, 2021, Encyclosphere is still in development.

While Encylosphere’s development is still ongoing and it appears to have few recent newsworthy announcements, the conspiracy sites gave Larry Sanger and Encyclosphere coverage due to an interview he gave to Just The News in late February, 2021. 

In this interview, Sanger states that leftists have taken over Wikipedia, which is likely what caused Encyclosphere and Sanger’s activities to gain renewed coverage, despite the fact that Sanger did not give much in the way of updates regarding the new platform, except that he was announcing a free seminar soon. (Note that the seminar’s launch is not being announced. He is instead announcing the seminar’s announcement, without giving a specific time for this announcement or the seminar’s launch.) 

Therefore, it is correct to state that Sanger is planning to create a Wikipedia rival due to what he perceives as leftist domination of the website. But this news is not recent. Reports from 2021 announcing the site are commotion, as Encylosphere had already been announced long before, and there is no deadline for the site’s launch.

Misbar’s Classification


Misbar’s Sources

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