In Focus | Building Trust in an Era of Skepticism

In this age of disinformation and mistrust, driven largely by social media, the creator of the world’s largest online encyclopedia still believes that “most people are basically decent” and can be counted on to help edit its millions of entries with minimal supervision. “You can’t be naïve about it, right?” says Jimmy Wales, co-founder of Wikipedia. “We have systems to deal with bad actors and sort of cope with the problems. But that trusting nature means people feel called upon to do the right thing, to do good things. And that’s really crucial.” Here, Wales talks with Wendy Zajack, faculty director of the Master’s in Integrated Marketing Communications program, about how Wikipedia builds public trust by acknowledging and correcting errors, and being transparent about the often-difficult process of presenting facts without bias. “A little more transparency, a little more openness is a great way of building trust.”

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