"I will give them a billion dollars if they change their name to Dickipedia."
Because purchasing the website formerly known as Twitter for $44 billion apparently wasn't enough, billionaire Elon Musk has now offered to give one billion dollars to Wikipedia — but that billion would come at a high, and very dumb, price.
"I will give them a billion dollars," Musk, a 52-year-old man, wrote in a Sunday post to X-formerly-Twitter, "if they change their name to Dickipedia."
The explicit offer was made amid a flurry of posts denigrating the online encyclopedia, in which the oft-tin-foil-hatted Musk implied that the Wikimedia Foundation, or the operating nonprofit body that supports Wikipedia, is being shady about its own finances.
"Have you ever wondered why the Wikimedia Foundation wants so much money?" Musk wrote in a separate thread, alleging that "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?" the billionaire pondered. "Inquiring minds want to know..."
But as X users were quick to point out in the platform's "Community Notes" feature, Wikimedia is actually very transparent about how its finances are directed.
Though Musk seemingly thinks otherwise, running a massive platform like Wikipedia, which is open-access and free to anyone online, is no small feat. Sure, the troves of text found on Wikipedia's pages might be able to fit on a smartphone, but effectively managing Wikipedia pages and their incredibly high user traffic numbers is another beast entirely; as explained by Wikimedia on its clearly-marked "Where Your Money Goes" page, about 43 percent of its budget goes to website support, an effort that includes "ongoing engineering improvements, product development, design and research, and legal support" in addition to basic server maintenance.
According to Wikimedia, the rest of its budget goes to supporting its large community of writers, editors, and other volunteers, as well as administrative tasks and further fundraising efforts, as Wikipedia remains ad-free and donation-funded.
It's worth recalling that Musk has some fairly recent beef with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.
Back in May, Musk was accused of throttling access to negative tweets about Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, by request of Turkey's censorship-happy government itself, a decision that seemed to fly in the face of the "free speech absolutism" that Musk claims to subscribe to. Wales weighed in on the situation, explaining that he ran into a similar situation with Turkey's censors, but rather than cave, he chose to take on the Turkish government in the country's Supreme Court — and won.
While we can probably chalk the billion-dollar offer up to cage match-level seriousness, it seems that Musk's Wale-sized chip on his shoulder remains. That, or he's just mad that his Wiki page mentions the Musk family's emerald mine.
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