Wikipedia co-founder aims high for new social media site run by user donations

Jimmy Wales launches a new type of social media to compete with Facebook and Twitter

About a month ago, Wikipedia's co-founder launched a social media site designed to compete with Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms which use algorithms to boost popular content. After just a few weeks, WT:Social already has 50,000 users.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales discussed his Wikipedia-inspired Facebook and Twitter competitor; though WT:Social has about 50,000 users after a month of existence, Wales states that his goal is to have 50 or 500 million.

WT:Social was originally launched as WikiTribune a few years ago; with a lofty redesign came a new name. The media was designed to "combat ‘clickbait' and misleading headlines."

The design of the media is reminiscent of Facebook with its newsfeed on which users can share articles and discuss them together. On the other hand, it emulates Reddit in the way it will support small communities who have a shared interest in topics ranging from heavy metal to beekeeping to politics.

Also like Reddit when viewing content sorted as "new," WT:Social puts the newest content at the top, unlike Facebook and Twitter whose algorithms put the post popularly engaged with posts or comments at the top of the newsfeed.

As with Wikipedia -- albeit it being a separate company -- WT:Social will rely upon user donations to function instead of advertising. There is currently a waitlist to join the media which can be bypassed if a donation is made. Wales understands that a media operating with such a business model "won't be massively profitable," but will be sustainable.

Wales admits that "This is a radical, crazy experiment," and that he's, "happy to say [he doesn't] know all the answers."