Amazon Alexa, Amazon’s virtual assistant used in devices including the Echo and Echo Dot, often recites information from online, crowdsourced encyclopedia Wikipedia when asked to define a word or phrase, or to give some context on a topic. And so it makes sense that on Tuesday, it was announced that Amazon has made a $1 million to the Wikimedia Endowment, the permanent fund established in 2016 to ensure the long-term stability of Wikimedia Foundation free and crowdsourced knowledge projects including, most notably, Wikipedia.
Wikipedia was founded in 2001 as a global crowdsourcing project, and since then, despite issues with contributor biases, the online encyclopedia has become the go-to source for any number of topics, from history to world diplomacy. “Since our beginning, millions of people have contributed to Wikipedia because they believe in world where every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge,” said Lisa Gruwell, Wikimedia’s Chief Advancement Officer, in a statement. “We’re thrilled that Amazon is investing in this vision and the long-term future of Wikipedia.”
This isn’t the first time a major for-profit company has leaned on WIkipedia to lend its vast knowledge reserves to promoting the greater good. In March, YouTube partnered with Wikipedia to help identify conspiracy theory videos on the sharing and streaming platform. YouTube promised to rely on several “fact-based” sources to help with its conspiracy-debunking campaign, including but not solely limited to Wikipedia.