The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that it will be working with Wikipedia and opening its Covid-19 information resources through the website.
Public health information is planned to be made available under Wikipedia’s Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license, which will allow users to copy and distribute the material in any medium or format, and to remix, transform, and use it for any purpose, including commercial can build on it.
Information must be mapped and all content based on it must be shared under the same license.
The information includes infographics, videos, and other public health assets, and is translated into national and regional languages by Wikipedia’s more than 250,000 volunteer editors.
“Access to information is essential and should be treated as such for healthy communities. This is even more evident in times of global health crises where information can have life-changing effects,” said Katherine Maher, CEO of the Wikimedia Foundation.
“All institutions, from governments to international health authorities, scientific institutions and Wikipedia, must do our part to ensure that everyone has fair and trustworthy access to knowledge about public health, regardless of where they live or what language they speak. ”
WHO has been concerned for some time about what it calls “infodemia” – “an overabundance of information and the rapid spread of misleading or fictitious messages, pictures and videos”. In the early days of the pandemic, rumors of food shortages led to inventory levels – which indeed led to supply problems. Even more shocking, after Donald Trump spoke about the possibility of using hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid-19, at least one person died after ingesting an aquarium cleaning product containing chloroquine. Others allegedly drank bleach after further speculation by the president.
And you could say it’s personal: In a study of misinformation this summer, the Reuters Institute and Oxford University found that the largest category of misinformation was misleading or false allegations about the actions or policies of authorities like the WHO or the United Nations were.
It is fair to say that Wikipedia itself had misinformation problems, but its response to the pandemic was generally seen as effective, with editors making thousands of corrections every day.