Story at a glance

  • “Equitable access to trusted health information is critical to keeping people safe and informed during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO, said in a statement.
  • The partners said by allowing WHO’s resources to be freely used, Wikipedia’s 250,000 volunteer editors can build on and expand the site’s COVID-19 coverage.
  • The move is the latest in the fight against coronavirus misinformation that has swirled online since the pandemic kicked off.

Wikipedia and the World Health Organization (WHO) are joining forces to fight COVID-19 misinformation by expanding access to the latest and most reliable information about the coronavirus pandemic, the organizations announced Thursday. 

The collaboration will give Wikipedia free use of WHO’s published information, graphics and videos for the online encyclopedia’s coronavirus content. The agreement puts WHO’s material into the Wikimedia Commons, a digital library of free images and other multimedia. 


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The partners said by allowing WHO’s resources to be freely used, Wikipedia’s 250,000 volunteer editors can build on and expand the site’s COVID-19 coverage, which currently offers more than 5,200 coronavirus-related articles in 175 languages. 

“Equitable access to trusted health information is critical to keeping people safe and informed during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO, said in a statement

“Our new collaboration with the Wikimedia Foundation will increase access to reliable health information from WHO across multiple countries, languages, and devices,” Tedros said. 

Readers can currently access WHO’s "mythbusting" series of infographics on the Wikimedia Commons, and they are available to Wikipedia editors to incorporate into articles. The infographics debunk common misconceptions about COVID-19. Resources will continue to be uploaded over the coming months. 

The move is the latest in the fight against coronavirus misinformation that has swirled online since the pandemic kicked off. Conspiracy theories and unfounded claims about the virus, its origins and ways to combat it have surged on social media and other websites. 

Social media platforms like Facebook have taken several steps to limit the spread of harmful content about the virus while elevating authoritative information.


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Published on Oct 22, 2020