If Then

Fact and Fiction on Wikipedia

The Wikimedia Foundation’s executive director explains how the site’s volunteer editors fight misinformation and harassment.

Listen to If Then by clicking the arrow on the audio player below, or get the show via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play.

On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser talk about the announcement that Amazon will raise the minimum wage for its U.S. workers to $15 an hour. While Jeff Bezos may be receiving praise for the move this week, another enigmatic tech CEO is facing retribution. Elon Musk has agreed to settle with the SEC following tweets he made about potentially taking the company private, and he will step down from Tesla’s board.


Net neutrality is also back in the news: California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill on Sunday to implement net neutrality protections in the state starting next year. But within hours of Brown’s signing, the Justice Department announced it would be suing the state of California to prevent it from circumventing the federal net neutrality repeal.


And the headaches continue for Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook. Last week, it was announced that a massive security breach to the social media site allowed hackers to take control of upward of 50 million accounts. Facebook does not yet know who the culprits are.

The hosts are then joined by Katherine Maher, the executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation, best known for, well, Wikipedia: the fifth-most-popular website on the planet. Maher talks to Oremus and Glaser about how it all works: how a community of millions of volunteer editors is able to pull fact from fiction, how a site dedicated to trying to be correct deals with false news, how the site deals with harassment within its editor community, how its relationship with Google is changing, and why diversity is important in writing the web’s massive nonprofit encyclopedia.


17:04 - Interview with Katherine Maher

47:15 - Don’t Close My Tabs

Stories discussed on the show:

Slate: “Mark Zuckerberg Can’t Say Why Users Should Trust Facebook Anymore

Slate: “Elon Musk Settles With the SEC, Will Step Down as Tesla Chairman

Slate: “The Federal Government and California Are Officially at War Over Net Neutrality

The Verge: “Amazon Raises Minimum Wage to $15 for All 350,000 U.S. Workers Following Criticism


Slate: “YouTube Is Adding Fact-Check Links for Videos on Topics That Inspire Conspiracy Theories

Don’t Close My Tabs:

Slate: “Apple News Is Giving the Media Everything It Wants—Except Money

Podcast production by Max Jacobs

If Then plugs:

You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.

If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.