Elon Musk has been known to follow through on some on his more unusual proclamations, and now he’s made yet another one.
Elon Musk has said he’ll give a billion dollars (Rs. 8,000 crore) to online encyclopedia Wikipedia if it changes its name to ‘Dickipedia’. Musk had first posted a yawning emoji with a screenshot of Wikipedia asking its readers for funds. He then followed it up with a post on X. “I will give them a billion dollars if they change their name to Dickipedia,” he declared.
Musk elaborated as to why he wanted Wikipedia to change its name to ‘Dickipedia’, which is a pejorative with ‘pedia’ appended to it. “In the interest of accuracy,” he posted on X, hinting that Dickipedia would be a more accurate name for the online encyclopedia. “Please add that to the dog sh*t on my Wikipedia page,” he also posted, seemingly addressing Wikipedia’s editors. When someone pointed out that Wikipedia could simply take the money, change their name, and immediately change it back, he posted that the name change would have to remain for at least a year. “One year minimum. I mean, I’m a not fool lol,” he posted.
Musk also wondered why Wikipedia was always asking users for donations. “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,” he posted.
This isn’t the first time that Musk has trained his guns on Wikipedia. In 2020, he’d tweeted that history was written by the victors, except on Wikipedia, implying that the people editing Wikipedia were losers. In 2022, he tweeted that Wikipedia had a “non trivial” left wing bias.
Musk isn’t the only person who’s spoken out about Wikipedia’s left-leaning bias. Wikipedia’s own co-founder Larry Sanger has said that the site has a become ‘propaganda’ for the left-leaning establishment. “If only one version (left-leaning) of the facts is allowed then that gives a huge incentive to wealthy and powerful people to seize control of things like Wikipedia in order to shore up their power,” he has said. Sanger is no longer with Wikipedia, and it is now controlled by its other co-founder, Jimmy Wales.
Wikipedia is also accused of having a left-wing bias in India. Critics have pointed out to its coverage of articles on riots, which seem to lean towards a particular community and project them in a favourable light. Others have pointed to its opaque editorial system, in which unpaid editors choose what goes up on its pages, and it’s often up to their whims to decide how an article is structured. There have also been accusations that these editors take large sums of money from PR agencies to edit articles of celebrities and politicians.
It appears that Elon Musk has the same concerns, but he’s put his money where his mouth is — he’s offered Wikipedia $1 billion to change their name to Dickipedia, and reveal their own biases. It remains to be seen if Wikipedia takes him up on his offer — given how they’re constantly asking for donations, $1 billion might go a long way for them — and given Musk’s track record, it would seem that he’s dead serious about the offer.