Wikipedia launches code of conduct to combat harassment, false information

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The foundation that operates Wikipedia on Tuesday unveiled a new set of rules that aim to combat online harassment and misinformation on the digital platform. 

Wikimedia’s new “Universal Code of Conduct” creates a global set of standards for contributors, defining what is considered “acceptable” behavior on the platform. 

The new rules highlight harassment, including the use of threats, slurs and disclosure of another’s personal data, as unacceptable behavior on the platform. 

The rules also define “abuse of power” and “content vandalism” as unacceptable behavior.

Wikipedia’s new code against abuse of power aims to combat the platform being used by any influential Wikipedia editor or other volunteer to intimidate or threaten others.

The rules surrounding content vandalism targets misinformation, defining “content vandalism” as “deliberately introducing biased, false, inaccurate or inappropriate content” to hamper the maintenance and creation of content. 

“Our work is built around a radical premise that everyone should be able to participate in knowledge,” Katherine Maher, CEO of the Wikimedia Foundation, said in a statement.  “Our new universal code of conduct creates binding standards to elevate conduct on the Wikimedia projects, and empower our communities to address harassment and negative behavior across the Wikimedia movement.”

Although the new rules have been adopted, there is still work ahead for the foundation regarding content moderation. Wikimedia will now head into the second phase of talks about the Universal Code of Conduct — focussed on how to implement and enforce the new rules. 

Wikipedia is different from most digital platforms facing scrutiny over content moderation. The digital encyclopedia’s business is built around volunteers largely handling issues with users’ behavior. 

More than 1,500 Wikipedia volunteers from across five continents participated in creating the new rules, according to the announcement. 

Tags code of conduct German Wikipedia Wikimedia foundation Wikimedia Foundation Wikipedia Wikipedia community

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