Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger is criticizing the site’s left-wing bias, saying the popular online encyclopedia has become an irretrievably broken platform for socialism.
“The days of Wikipedia’s robust commitment to neutrality are long gone,” Mr. Sanger told Fox News in a new interview. “Wikipedia’s ideological and religious bias is real and troubling, particularly in a resource that continues to be treated by many as an unbiased reference work.”
Mr. Sanger, 52, co-founded the site with Jimmy Wales in January 2001. He said Wikipedia’s turn away from neutrality is “disheartening.”
Wikipedia, which says “anyone can edit” its entries, is one of the most-used websites in the world. Google prioritizes its placement in search results.
But Mr. Sanger tweeted that leftist activists gradually move in “to take control of any influential institution not explicitly conservative … and they just work harder, and in more subtle ways, on the ones that are explicitly conservative.”
“And then when the rest of the media and tech became insanely far left, Wikipedia naturally went along with the trend,” he tweeted.
The Fox analysis cited the two main pages for “Socialism” and “Communism” that span 28,000 words but lack any discussion of the genocides committed by socialist and communist regimes, in which tens of millions of people were murdered and starved.
“The omission of large-scale mass murder, slave labor, and man-made famines is negligent and deeply misleading,” economics professor Bryan Caplan, who has studied the history of communism, told Fox News.
In a blog post, Mr. Sanger said examples of bias on Wikipedia “have become embarrassingly easy to find,” pointing to the entries for former Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump.
“The Barack Obama article completely fails to mention many well-known scandals: Benghazi, the IRS scandal, the AP phone records scandal, and Fast and Furious, to say nothing of Solyndra or the Hillary Clinton email server scandal — or, of course, the developing ‘Obamagate’ story in which Obama was personally involved in surveilling Donald Trump,” Mr. Sanger posted in May 2020. “A fair article about a major political figure certainly must include the bad with the good.”
He said the entry about Mr. Trump shows that Wikipedia’s neutrality “is a joke.”
“Just for example, there are 5,224 none-too-flattering words in the ‘Presidency’ section,” he wrote. “By contrast, the following ‘Public Profile’ (which the Obama article entirely lacks), ‘Investigations,’ and ‘Impeachment’ sections are unrelentingly negative, and together add up to some 4,545 words — in other words, the controversy sections are almost as long as the sections about his presidency.”
He said Wikipedia frequently asserts “in its own voice, that many of Trump’s statements are ‘false.’ Well, perhaps they are. But even if they are, it is not exactly neutral for an encyclopedia article to say so, especially without attribution.”
The Wikimedia Foundation said in a statement that Wikipedia “is a living, breathing project, and is always evolving just as our shared understanding of a topic does.” It said the foundation does not directly control the content on the site, which is written by volunteer editors.
The spokesperson also pointed to a Harvard study that “shows how the more people edit an article, the more neutral it becomes,” Fox News reported.