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In the midst of the post-truth and disinformation era, public institutions and the main online platforms have taken on the challenge of addressing the threat of manipulation of information and its well-known fateful consequences.

Now more than ever, critical thinking to select reliable sources and the ability to manage their diversity have become essential in view of the risk that lies and biased views will prevail over objective data and irrefutable facts.

In this context, Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia par excellence, has just published its Universal Code of Conduct. Its aim is to establish a set of global community rules to address unacceptable behavior on the platform, such as hate speech, polarization or the increase in violent messages.

This code is based on a broad consensus, in which over 1,500 volunteers from 19 different Wikipedia projects representing the five continents and 30 languages have participated, as reported in the statement from the organization that manages Wikipedia.

The most significant elements of the code are:

  1. It clearly defines acceptable behavior, including mutual respect and support, empathy, good faith and civility, among others.
  2. It defines harassment within and outside projects for all Wikipedia participants.
  3. It tries to prevent abuse of power and influence to intimidate others.
  4. It combats deliberately introducing false or inaccurate content.
  5. It provides a consistent application process and shared responsibility between the Foundation and volunteer communities.

As discussed in a previous post, it is not only essential to distinguish between true and false but also to establish who decides whether each piece of information is true. It is, therefore, highly important to exercise caution when adopting the mechanisms to establish what is illegal content and what content, while legal, infringes the codes of conduct of online platforms. 

We will continue to monitor the next steps the European and Spanish authorities, as well as the online platforms, take in terms of how to address and regulatefake news, a real challenge, particularly online.

Authors: Josu Andoni Eguiluz and Jorge Monclús

This post is also available in: Español



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