The World Health Organization is teaming up with Wikipedia to combat the spread of false information related to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to The New York Times.
The partnership, which is the first between Wikipedia and a health agency, will give the online encyclopedia free use of WHO’s published information, graphics and videos.
“We all consult just a few apps in our daily life, and this puts WHO content right there in your language, in your town, in a way that relates to your geography,” WHO digital content manager Andrew Pattison told the publication. “Getting good content out quickly disarms the misinformation.”
The first WHO materials added to Wikipedia under the new partnership are the agency’s “Mythbusters” infographics, which identify more than two dozen false notions about COVID-19. Future content may include treatment guidelines for physicians, according to the Oct. 22 report.
Wikipedia has around 5,200 COVID-19-related articles in 174 languages. With the collaboration, much of the WHO’s material will be added into the Wikimedia “commons,” which means it can be reproduced or retranslated.
There have been several safeguards established under the partnership to prevent contributors from inserting errors or making “malicious changes,” to resources, said Ryan Merkley, chief of staff at Wikimedia Foundation, which produces Wikipedia. These provisions include locking certain pages so that they cannot be changed until one of more than 200 volunteer editors, who are primarily physicians and academics, on WikiProject COVID-19 can review it.
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