The news and social networks haven’t exactly been easy partners in recent years. From fake news to the selling on of customer data, some of the biggest names in the industry have found themselves under something of a cloud. However, one new social network is looking to change that. WT:Social (WikiTribune) is a news focused social network with a very different agenda – and it’s already growing quickly.
Where did WT:Social come from?
It is the brainchild of Jimmy Wales who is probably best known for being co-founder of the online non-profit encyclopaedia Wikipedia. However, important to note is that there is no connection between Wikipedia and WT:Social. In fact, Wikipedia recently specifically stated that Wikipedia and the Wikipedia Foundation are entirely separate to the new social network, adding, “The recently launched WT:Social is related to WikiTribune, a venture independently initiated by Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.”
What makes WT:Social different?
Primarily, it is the way data will be used that will make this platform so different - WT:Social says that it won’t sell user data on in the same way that has caused so many problems for other social platforms, such as Facebook.
Advertising is another key differentiator for WT:Social – rather than using the platform as somewhere to sell advertising space to big businesses, there will be a system of donation requests instead. Donations are optional and can be set at $12.99 a month or $100 a year.
The arrangement of news in the feed is another way in which WT:Social promises a rather different experience. Instead of employing a complex algorithm to show users the posts that the technology has decided is the most relevant to them, WT:Social will simply show the latest posts first.
More credible content
WT:Social is also very focused on only providing content that is credible, sharing accurate news from reliable sources. This is not something that you could accuse any of the current social platforms of doing.
What about the waiting list?
Many people who have tried to join WT:Social have found themselves placed on a waiting list. This is another way in which the new platform is different to the likes of Instagram or Twitter – and may not be something that those on the list see as particularly positive.
According to founder Jimmy Wales it’s possible to move up the waiting list more quickly if you invite your friends, family and colleagues to join WT:Social. As of November 2019, WT:Social has around 200,000 members and numbers continue to rise as the idea of an ad-free, data-sensitive and news focused social network starts to catch on among those who are unhappy with existing options.
Currently, WT:Social is still very much an emerging platform and it’s difficult to tell what kind of an impact it’s going to have in the long term. However, there is no doubt that it is generating a lot of interest and that the idea behind its creation is something that could force other social networks to start evolving, fast.
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