jakub | October 23, 2023

Elon Musk says he will give $1billion to Wikipedia to change their name to ‘Dickipedia’

Elon Musk has said he will give $1billion to Wikipedia to change their name to ‘Dickipedia’.

The feud with Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales seems to have started around October 17, where the British-American entrepreneur expressed the difficulty in verifying “real journalists” from “fakes” amidst the Israel-Palestine conflict. Musk has made a flurry of changes to the website this year, including the removal of legacy verified blue ticks and plans to put X (formerly Twitter) behind a paywall in order to deter bots.

“Fast moving claims and counter claims, and @elonmusk has removed all the core features that made it even remotely possible to tell real journalists from fakes,” wrote Wales.

In response, Musk wrote: “Please fix Wokipedia”, and has spent the following days criticising the online encyclopedia in a number of tweets.

On October 22, Musk wrote: “Have you ever wondered why the Wikimedia Foundation wants so much money? It certainly isn’t needed to operate Wikipedia. You can literally fit a copy of the entire text on your phone!

“So, what’s the money for? Inquiring minds want to know…”


Posting a photo of Wikipedia’s donation plea, he wrote: “I will give them a billion dollars if they change their name to Dickipedia,” going on to call it “a stiff & firm offer”.

Underneath Musk’s tweet questioning Wikimedia’s finances, a Community Note stated that “The Wikimedia Foundation is a charitable non-profit, providing free access to Wikipedia. While a text & English-only copy of Wikipedia is about 51GB, adding all media + supported languages brings it to 428TB. In 2022 Wikimedia had $154M in revenue with $145M in expenses.”

The Community Note then linked to the foundation’s 2022 financial report, which you can view here. The feature lets users provide context in order to fight against misinformation, where other users can vote whether the provided context is “helpful” or irrelevant.

The CEO then replied to a number of tweets, stating that Wikipedia was “inherently hierarchical”. X’s Community Notes, according to Musk, requires “people with historically different points of view” to “agree in order for Notes to be shown to the public”.

“Crucially,” he continued, “even I, as the controlling shareholder of the company, cannot change the outcome of a Note.”

Today (October 23), Wikipedia seemingly responded by posting a statement on X. “Wikipedia is the only website in the top-ten most-visited global websites to be run by a nonprofit – and at a fraction of the budget and staffing,” they said. “We are not funded by advertising, we don’t charge a subscription fee, and we don’t sell your data.”

The account then posted an updated version of an article posted in 2022, which you can read here.

Musk and Wikipedia have already sparred earlier this year; in May, Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales criticised Musk for agreeing to restrict content on X/Twitter in the run-up to Turkey’s presidential election. Wales pointed to Wikipedia’s own legal battle with Turkey blocking access to the website in 2017, adding: “This is what it means to treat freedom of expression as a principle rather than a slogan.”

In response, Musk tagged the American-British entrepreneur in a tweet: “We’ve pushed harder for free speech than any other Internet company, including Wokipedia.”

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