Writing the Revolution: Wikipedia and the Survival of Facts in the Digital Age

MIT. Nov. 2022. 184p. ISBN 9780262046299. pap. $25. TECH
Ford’s (digital and social media studies, Univ. of Technology Sydney) book offers an eye-opening look at how Wikipedia curates content that is used as factual data by millions of people and organizations worldwide. It takes readers on an ethnographic journey that traces how live events are recorded, reported, edited, and ultimately understood. The author bases her investigation on the entry for what is now known as the Arab Spring Uprising in Egypt from 2011 to the present. Along the way, readers learn how initial entries can be edited to look as if they are the result of rational communal consensus, rather than decisions based on the collective emotion of the moment. This book calls into question Wikipedia’s stated principles of a neutral point of view, no original research, and verifiability. Yet, the author also acknowledges the importance of Wikipedia, as well as the lack of accountability and attribution of its content by commercial search engines, such as Google.
VERDICT Ford pushes readers to more deeply understand how pieces of information become accepted, often unquestioned facts online and issues a call to promote data literacy. Highly recommended.
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