Wikipedia bans 250 accounts on pay-for-article concerns
The online encyclopedia's editors are investigating other allegations of suspicious edits and accounts
IDG News Service - Amid news reports of groups paying users to write Wikipedia entries, the online encyclopedia has blocked or banned more than 250 accounts, the site announced Monday.
A number of user accounts, "perhaps as many as several hundred," may have been paid to write Wikipedia articles promoting groups or products, Sue Gardner, executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation, said in a blog post.
Wikipedia editors continue to investigate allegations of suspicious edits and so-called sockpuppetry, the practice of using online identities for purposes of deception, she wrote.
Editing for pay has been a "divisive topic" at Wikipedia for years, Gardner said. "Unlike a university professor editing Wikipedia articles in their area of expertise, paid editing for promotional purposes, or paid advocacy editing as we call it, is extremely problematic," she added. "We consider it a 'black hat' practice. Paid advocacy editing violates the core principles that have made Wikipedia so valuable for so many people."
Gartner's statement follows recent news reports suggesting that public relations agencies and other groups have been targeting allegedly negative information in Wikipedia articles. Vice.com recently wrote about PR agencies working as Wikipedia reputation managers, and DailyDot.com reported on an extensive sockpuppetry investigation at Wikipedia.
With the uncovering of alleged sockpuppet accounts, editors "have expressed shock and dismay," Gardner wrote. "Our readers know Wikipedia's not perfect, but they also know that it has their best interests at heart, and is never trying to sell them a product or propagandize them in any way. Our goal is to provide neutral, reliable information for our readers, and anything that threatens that is a serious problem."
Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Social Media Education: The New Edge for Success Failure to train for social media will cost your business money. A recent report showed how digitally prepared companies can unlock up to...
- Social Media in Technology: A Unified Strategy for Success Find out how social media is sparking a new era of customer and industry-understanding in technology enterprises and how industry leaders are overcoming...
- How Network Connections Drive Web Application Performance Users around the globe, on all sorts of devices, expect Web applications to function as seamlessly as desktop applications. This paper discusses the...
- 5 Customers Deliver Virtual Desktops and Apps to Empower a Modern Workforce Learn how Citrix solutions helped 5 companies realize the full value of desktop virtualization through a project-by-project approach based on key business priorities.
- What Does it Take to Deliver a Superior Customer Experience? The Two Top-Rated Online Retailers, B&H Photo and Crutchfield Electronics, Share Their Secrets Discuss practical CX tools and service methods such as contact center agents and the use of realtime speech analytics to help contact center...
- Keep Servers Up and Running and Attackers in the Dark An SSL/TLS handshake requires at least 10 times more processing power on a server than on the client. SSL renegotiation attacks can readily... All Internet White Papers | Webcasts
Our new bimonthly Internet of Things newsletter helps you keep pace with the rapidly evolving technologies, trends and developments related to the IoT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!