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Wikipedia co-founder launches project to fight fake news

Jimmy Wales' "Wikitribune" will bring journalists and others together to produce fact-checked news stories online.

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Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales is creating a new initiative to ward off fake news.

Bloomberg via Getty Images

Jimmy Wales is hoping the formula that made Wikipedia popular will have the same effect for battling fake news stories online.

The Wikipedia co-founder is launching "Wikitribune," an open collaboration featuring professional and community journalists as well as other contributors creating fact-checked stories for the web.

The new site seemingly is going to be different than WikiNews, the Wikimedia Foundation's free longtime crowdsourced news site. A crowdfunding campaign on Wikitribune's page Monday said enough money has already been raised to hire at least five journalists.

Wales has previously preached about more transparency in journalism. Wikitribune, independent from Wikipedia and the aforementioned foundation, aims to have content featuring full transcripts, video and audio. No word on when the first issue, which will be free and in English, will appear.

This effort comes as fake news has become a trending topic online, especially during last year's contentious US presidential race. Most notably, Facebook received widespread criticism for apparently letting members spread false news stories across the world's most popular social network. In response, the company launched several projects, including the News Integrity Initiative, a consortium with other tech companies, academics and nonprofits.

Wales said in a statement that Wikitribune will be news "by the people and for the people."

"This will be the first time that professional journalists and citizen journalists will work side by side as equals writing stories as they happen, editing them live as they develop and at all times backed by a community checking and re-checking all facts," he said.

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