Wikipedia editors ban Daily Mail as a source over ‘flat-out fabrication’

9 Feb 2017

Image: dennizn/Shutterstock

Contributors to Wikipedia will no longer be allowed to use the Daily Mail as a reference source after the non-profit organisation accused it of “sensationalism and flat-out fabrication”.

Behind Wikipedia’s vast, vast collection of articles on almost every topic imaginable is a team of volunteers who give up large quantities of time to moderate the seemingly endless amounts of edits made by users across the world.

To prevent people from writing flat-out lies, the editors ask users to cite their sources for information, be it a scientific journal or an online news report.

Now, one of the regularly sourced websites, the Daily Mail, has been placed on a banned list of sources following a vote among the editors (not from the Wikimedia Foundation that runs the website).

According to The Guardian, the news site – which has one of the highest online readerships in the world – has become one of the few major news organisations to receive an outright ban on Wikipedia.

The decision was confirmed on a section used by editors to vote on particular issues, as they disputed the reliability of the Daily Mail as a source of information for Wikipedia articles.

Not every editor in agreement

The editors claimed that the ban was “centred on the Daily Mail’s reputation for poor fact-checking, sensationalism and flat-out fabrication”.

The ban covers not only the news website, but its newspaper edition as well.

“An edit filter should be put in place going forward, to warn editors attempting to use the Daily Mail as a reference.”

From here on out, users who source a Daily Mail article will have their contribution flagged and will be asked to replace the link with one from another news organisation.

This decision was not unanimous, as a number of editors claim that the call made by user Hillbillyholiday to ban the site was driven by an agenda, rather than an issue over fact-checking.

Daily Mail website. Image: dennizn/Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic