Well, Wikipedia’s co-founder Jimmy Wales thinks that about half a billion people would pay to join a meaningful social network. That is why he just launched a new rival platform WT:SOCIAL challenging the business models of some powerful networks like Twitter and Facebook.
The site has almost 80,000 people registered with it for now out of which only 200 have paid to escape the waiting queue. The site promises “digital freedom” and hopes to cater to the needs of certain niche communities. It will give its users the freedom to share, review, edit or delete posts depending upon their factuality and does not have any plans to hire moderators to keep a check on fake news. The social network is a reboot of Wikitribune which was launched by co-founders of Wikipedia in 2017 as a news sharing site but unfortunately failed to attract much crowd.
The signing up procedure is free but the signed up people will be kept in waiting list which they can escape either by paying donation or by inviting friends along. According to Jimmy Wales, the advertisements business models promoted by facebook, twitter or google are all harmful, first they addict people to use their networks and then influence them to click on their ads. He believes that a much healthier platform can be created by his business model and people paying for what they preach or want to see and receiving good quality content only. Jimmy sees the advertisement model as problematic and says “It turns out the huge winner is low-quality content.”
It will be interesting to see where this new social media platform WT:SOCIAL can stand in front of big players like Facebook and Twitter who somehow managed to suppress google’s attempt at a time when it launched Google + as a similar platform. WT:Social can be seen as a site similar to Netflix or Spotify who ask their consumers to pay for their meaningful content but the question that remains is what content will WT:Social provide and will it be worth paying for? With Wikipedia completing almost 19 years in the industry, this new initiative has given some new hope in the social media industry as it promises to impact people’s lives in a much better and healthier way.