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Elon Musk offers $1 billion to Wikipedia but…


X (formerly Twitter) owner Elon Musk recently put forth a surprising proposition for Wikipedia. In what he termed “in the interests of accuracy”, Musk expressed his willingness to donate $1 billion to the online encyclopedia if it consented to rename itself ‘Dickipedia’. The billionaire’s stipulation came with a further condition that the name change must remain in effect for a minimum of a year.

A number of X users requested Wikipedia to take the money from the world’s richest individual. When political journalist Ed Krassenstein asked Wikipedia to accept the offer, he argued that they could always change it back after getting hold of the money. “One year minimum. I mean, I’m a not fool lol,” replied Musk.

“Buy it and put AI in charge of updating it autonomously,” one of the users wrote. “Buy it and turn it into Xpedia instead,” suggested another.

Musk’s offer raised eyebrows, especially when contrasted with his own recent venture into social media. After acquiring Twitter and renaming it ‘X’, he has used the platform as his own theatre of revelation, captivating global audiences. This latest public challenge to Wikipedia followed soon after a previous Twitter dispute between him and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.

Not the first fight between Elon Musk and Jimmy Wales

Wales earlier criticised Musk for purportedly censoring critics of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a day ahead of Turkey’s contentious presidential elections.

According to Wales, when Wikipedia encountered similar pressures, they took a resolute stand and even fought their way up to Turkey’s Supreme Court, thereby emphasising the importance of upholding freedom of speech as a principle and not just a catchphrase.

Elon Musk responded to this criticism by questioning the financial transparency of the Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit organisation that runs Wikipedia. Musk argued that the entire text content of Wikipedia could comfortably fit on one’s mobile device. He openly queried the purpose behind Wikipedia’s fundraising efforts, suggesting that the large sums raised did not seem to be needed for the platform’s operational costs.

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