Social media giants Twitter and Facebook mishandled Donald Trump repeatedly as he pushed baseless claims and misinformation, including his assertion that the US presidential election he lost was rigged, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales told AFP.
The platforms indefinitely suspended Trump after his supporters stormed the US Capitol in Washington on January 6, an attack that led to his second impeachment.
In an interview to mark Wikipedia's 20th anniversary, Wales told AFP that that responsibility for the unprecedented events in Washington rested "100% at the feet of Donald Trump."
But he said the social media giants had consistently "struggled with misinformation, disinformation" peddled by Trump.
"With Donald Trump, they did a poor job of dealing with him for a very, very long time. He was clearly spreading disinformation, he was clearly being abusive to people," Wales said.
His decision in 2003 to make the site non-profit is one reason he believes Wikipedia has not faced the same backlash and difficult decisions as Twitter or Facebook.
"They (social media platforms) have a business model that says, 'We need as many eyeballs as possible, we need as many page views as possible’. Now it's also damaging for their brand. So they have to deal with that. But I think they're going to struggle,” he said.