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Wikipedia Targeted By Large-Scale Pro-Chinese Influence Operation 

October 7th, 2021 13:16

UK media report­ed last month that online ency­clo­pe­dia Wikipedia was tar­get­ed by a large-scale influ­ence oper­a­tion involv­ing a group of pro-Chi­nese gov­ern­ment edi­tors and admin­is­tra­tors who sought con­trol of Wikipedia edit­ing in favor pro-Chi­nese view­points. Accord­ing to a BBC article:

Sep­tem­ber 16, 2021 Wikipedia has suf­fered an “infil­tra­tion” that sought to advance the aims of Chi­na, the US non-prof­it organ­i­sa­tion that owns the vol­un­teer-edit­ed ency­clopae­dia has said.  The Wiki­me­dia Foun­da­tion told BBC News the infil­tra­tion had threat­ened the “very foun­da­tions of Wikipedia”. […] “This case is unprece­dent­ed in scope,” foun­da­tion vice-pres­i­dent Mag­gie Den­nis said, in a note to vol­un­teers.  And she told BBC News the foun­da­tion had been inves­ti­gat­ing the infil­tra­tion of Chi­nese-lan­guage Wikipedia for near­ly a year.  But this sum­mer, “cred­i­ble threats” to vol­un­teers’ safe­ty had “led us to pri­ori­tise rapid response”.  The foun­da­tion was bat­tling against “cap­ture”, where a group gains con­trol of the edit­ing of the Wikipedia to favour a par­tic­u­lar view­point, Ms Den­nis wrote.  And it has recent­ly set up a dis­in­for­ma­tion team. In this case, the infil­tra­tors had tried to pro­mote “the aims of Chi­na, as inter­pret­ed through what­ev­er fil­ters they may bring to bear”, Ms Den­nis told BBC News.  “Con­trol­ling con­tent was an aim,” she said.  But she also said: “I am not in posi­tion to point fin­gers at the Chi­nese state nor in pos­ses­sion of infor­ma­tion that would lead me to do so.” How­ev­er, “long and deep inves­ti­ga­tions” into Wiki­me­di­ans of Main­land Chi­na, a group claim­ing to have about 300 mem­bers, had result­ed in the ban­ning of sev­en users and the removal of admin­is­tra­tor priv­i­leges from a fur­ther 12, Wikipedia said.

Read the rest here.

The BBC arti­cle notes that there are cur­rent­ly more than 4,000 Chi­nese lan­guage con­trib­u­tors to Wikipedia websites.