Elon Musk Offers $1 Billion to Wikipedia to Change Its Name to ‘Dickipedia’

This is not a drill.

Billionaire Elon Musk floated spending $1 billion on a joke—specifically to rename Wikipedia as “Dickipedia,” while right-wing distrust in the open-source database grows. 

Musk broke the internet last year when he bought Twitter for $44 billion dollars and whittled it down to the bones, transforming it into a monetizing mill that charges for blue check marks, subscriptions to verified accounts, and the platform might charge all users $1 per month. Now Twitter/X is only worth one-tenth the amount it was worth when Musk bought it. Fortune reported last September that Twitter/X has lost 90% of its value and could be worth just $4 billion.  

He’s at it again, now with Wikipedia.

On Oct. 22, billionaire Musk posted a screenshot on X, formerly Twitter, showing that “Wikipedia is not for sale.” He then offered the database $1 billion if they change the Wikipedia name to Dickipedia, even if they quickly change it back.

“Have you ever wondered why the Wikimedia Foundation wants so much money? It certainly isn’t needed to operate Wikipedia,” Musk posited. “You can literally fit a copy of the entire text on your phone! So, what’s the money for? Inquiring minds want to know.” 

X users used the “Add Context” feature on the app to answer his question. “Expenses: $146m – 43-45% engineering improvements, product development, design and research, and legal support – 31-32% grants, projects, trainings, tools for contributor capacity, and support for the legal defense of editors – 13% Administration – 11-12% Fundraising,” users wrote.

The next day, Musk posted on X that he’s offering $1 billion to the platform if they change its name to “Dickipedia.” “I will give them a billion dollars if they change their name to Dickipedia,” he posted, adding that they could change the name back.

He replied to his post, adding “In the interests of accuracy.”

Wikipedia is the world’s largest database, and is using the first Google result to pop up when users ask the internet any question. Wikipedia launched on Jan. 15, 2001, before the events of 9/11. While certainly not considered an academic primary source, Wikipedia is made up of freely editable content, and the articles are hyperlinked to guide readers to more information.

The articles are written collaboratively by volunteers, known as Wikipedians, who are usually anonymous. It’s not a source, because Wikipedia articles can be edited by anyone with internet access), except in limited cases where editing is restricted.

Growing Right-Wing Distrust of Wikipedia

An 2021 article from the Cato Institute suggested that we’ve already lost the battle against disinformation on the internet, but people are currently battling over who controls the agenda on Wikipedia. Media platforms, especially in places like cable news, tend to lean right or left, and it’s constantly getting harder to filter out the nonsense.

But why do people who lean right-wing distrust Wikipedia? 

In 2022, a Wikipedia article on recession gained over 200,000 views. Right-wing conspiracy theorists claim Wikipedia manipulated its definition of a recession to favor the Biden administration.

Conservative news platform The Daily Signal speculated about left-wing Wikipedia bias. “You see the pattern comparing political donations from different professions: Surgeons, oil workers, truck drivers, loggers, and pilots lean right; artists, bartenders, librarians, reporters, and teachers lean left,” Daily Signal writer John Stossel wrote.

Elon Musk Buys Twitter

In April 2022, Musk bought Twitter with a plan to change everything.

Musk acquired Twitter, Inc. according to an April 25, 2022 press release. The move made Twitter private and set off a firestorm of speculation, but no one could foresee the dramatic changes in store. Twitter, Inc. entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by an entity wholly owned by Musk, for $54.20 per share in cash in a transaction valued at approximately $44 billion.

Musk ran a complete overhaul of the platform formerly known as Twitter, but here’s a quick recap of some of Musk’s changes:

NBC News reports that monetizing the blue check marks is fueling fake news on the Israel-Palestine war—typically old war footage or even role-player activity fronting to be new acts of violence.

“People who have paid for blue checks have a financial incentive to LARP [live action role-play] as war reporters by dredging up old stories or fake footage,” Emerson T. Brooking, a researcher at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensics Research Lab, wrote. “Elon Musk enables this.”

Time will tell if Musk can buy changes on Wikipedia as well.

  1. I think I remember the definition of racism suddenly changing in the online dictionaries a couple years ago.
    My fear since the 80’s has always been that people would try to manipulate books and knowledge sources to say what they wanted rather than what the author wrote originally. I mean how many copies of your book are online? 1. Change the 1 and everywhere that anyone reads it it’s changed. This feature kind of makes e-books “worth” “less” (not necessarily worthless…) I still believe a printed book is superior to a digital one. And this is one of the reasons.

  2. The most important and controversial change, the lifting of much of Xwitter’s censorship, didn’t make it into the author’s summary of Elon’s changes. This purposeful exclusion of inconvenient facts is a clear example of why Americans no longer trust mainstream sources or Dikipedia. The “journalists” and “researchers” are political animals, not truth tellers.

    1. Wait. What’s with the weird portrayal of distrust in Wikipedia as a “right wing” thing? I’m a liberal Democrat and I studied economics at a top university. I can say with 100% certainty that Wikipedia uncritically changed their definition of recession (with prompting from national organizations) to help the Biden administration. The definition of a recession is, and had always been, 2 months of negative growth. Wikipedia allowed the site to become political when they reflected the administration’s absurd claim that a recession is when we say it is. It was shocking from an academic perspective. Wikipedia can’t be trusted. A recession is 2 months of negative growth. Period.

  3. If you’re conservative and you dare question any government, you’re a conspiracy enemy of the government and you should be sent to concentration camps along with your entire family and neighborhood. That’s what we need to do with people full of hatred and radicalization. Put them in concentration camps. The ones that can’t be cured need to die.
    Of course the government could not be infested by conspirators. Evil government take overs don’t exist. Government propaganda doesn’t exist. These are myths.

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