The Wikipedia entry for “mass killings under Communist regimes” is reportedly under threat of being removed from the platform over claims of bias.
The Wikipedia entry for “mass killings under Communist regimes” is reportedly under threat of being removed from the platform over claims of bias.
Wikipedia alleges that the site was infiltrated by a pro-China group aiming to gain control of the site and edit articles to favor communist China’s viewpoint. The infiltration was described as “unprecedented in scope and nature” by the Wikimedia Foundation, which controls Wikipedia.
In an interview Thursday for Tucker Carlson Tonight on Fox News, Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger stated he was embarrassed about helping found the site given its increasing left-wing bias. Noting it helps shape the understanding many Americans have of the world, Carlson asked Sanger what could be done to fix the problems on Wikipedia, but Sanger doubted it was possible to fix the site from the inside. He instead argued for creating alternative sources, noting his most recent effort: the Encyclosphere.
Larry Sanger, the co-founder of Wikipedia, has come under fire from the site’s editors over his criticism of the site’s left-wing bias. His criticism particularly cited an ongoing purge of conservative media on the site. While some editors tried to dispute his claims, others have smeared Sanger with accusations of antisemitism and trafficking in conspiracy theories to discredit him. Editors have also kept mention of his criticism of left-wing bias out of Wikipedia articles on the topic, due to such criticism being covered mainly in conservative media.
A long-time Wikipedia editor for over a decade, Guy Macon, retired from the site late June after he was briefly banned for not using “preferred pronouns” when discussing a ban appeal by former site administrator Ashley Van Haeften. Macon used Van Haeften’s username “Fæ” instead of singular “they” due to grammatical objections. Van Haeften and Macon previously fought over the former’s agenda-driven editing. Though the ban was lifted on grounds Macon was sincerely trying to respect Van Haeften’s wishes, some administrators still argued it was valid, citing the “code of conduct” recently imposed by Wikipedia’s owners.
Conservative media have been subject to an ongoing purge on Wikipedia since Donald Trump won the 2016 Presidential election. Originally, this only banned their use for factual claims with continued use permitted for citing opinions, but a policy change early last year significantly curtailed even this exemption without any discussion supporting the change, in defiance of normal practice. The change was made by Guy Chapman, a Wikipedia administrator notorious for political bias who has played a pivotal role in the sourcing purge.
Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger published a blog post last week analyzing the site’s left-wing bias. Examining articles about Donald Trump’s impeachments, the Black Lives Matter protests and riots, Joe Biden’s scandals, and the 2020 election, Sanger argued Wikipedia’s coverage is so extremely left-wing that it constitutes propaganda. He partly blamed an ongoing purge of conservative news sources on Wikipedia which includes Breitbart News. Sanger warned these developments made Wikipedia “a kind of thought police” and “an opponent of vigorous democracy.”
Recent allegations by former staff at the Wikimedia Foundation, which owns Wikipedia, accusing management of bullying and other offenses including anti-union retaliation, have prompted other former staff to come forward. Aside from echoing claims about mistreatment of staff, one former staffer alleged departing employees often are pushed to sign non-disclosure agreements and questioned the practice in light of the allegations. She further alleged employees would sometimes be overworked and fired for then failing to perform.
Academic publisher Elsevier has retracted an entire chemistry textbook about the periodic table of elements this year after learning of allegations that significant portions were copied from Wikipedia uncredited, at times including near-verbatim text. The apparent plagiarism was uncovered by a Wikipedia editor who attempted and failed to get the book’s authors to address the issue before contacting the publisher.
A former staffer at the Wikimedia Foundation, which owns Wikipedia, recently published a statement accusing high-level Foundation managers of workplace bullying based on his autism. Earlier this month, other former staff came forward with similar allegations of mistreatment by Foundation management. Some alleged they were subject to retaliation after complaining of the treatment with one suggesting it was tied to his union organizing activities.
A discussion at the Wikipedia Reddit community yesterday noted that Google searches asking if China owns the disputed South China Sea prominently featured a result from the online encyclopedia parroting the Chinese government position that it “enjoys indisputable sovereignty” over the sea. Reddit users noted the line appeared to be taken from a Chinese Foreign Ministry statement quoted in the article, a fact not included in the Google snippet. The line was removed after the reddit discussion brought it to attention.
Earlier this year, the Wikipedia page on GamerGate, the anti-corruption movement in gaming, saw extensive updates about the “legacy” of the movement and associated controversies. These edits pushed claims that GamerGate, which Wikipedia labels a “harassment campaign” due to a years-long effort by left-wing editors, helped Donald Trump become President in 2016 and that the movement even contributed to what the page called an “attempted coup” at the Capitol on January 6.
Twitter launched its Birdwatch feature earlier this year with media noting the similarities between the crowd-sourced fact-checking process and the open editing model of Wikipedia, a comparison Twitter touted in early demos. However, much like Wikipedia, the Birdwatch platform often serves as a way for users to push their political agenda. Both right and left have taken advantage, though Twitter promises tighter restrictions, which the platform’s history of bias suggests will tilt it towards the left.
Numerous Wikipedia users working for the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) have been persistently adding references to the group in various articles. The scheme included attempting to mention ADL claims about antisemitism in the article about the reddit-driven stock market boom in video game retailer GameStop. The ADL editing campaign is another example of rampant efforts by paid editors and those with conflicts of interest to exploit the site’s open editing model.
The Wikipedia page for actor Keiynan Lonsdale became a battlefield in the fight over “preferred pronouns” due to a Twitter thread noting Lonsdale once suggested “tree” as his preferred pronoun. Despite doubts about Lonsdale’s sincerity, editors repeatedly changed the male pronouns on his article to “tree” this past week until an editor sought a compromise by removing pronouns entirely. One editor who criticized the move and denigrated the idea of “tree” as a pronoun was banned for a week.
Wikipedia celebrated its 20th anniversary on January 15, following a year of considerable controversy for the online encyclopedia. The site’s increasing leftward bias became more apparent in the preceding year with Wikipedia’s owners imposing a “code of conduct” advancing left-wing identity politics, editors actively pushing a Black Lives Matter agenda, disputes regarding its medical coverage, an ongoing purge of conservative media, and aiding the 2020 Presidential campaign of Joe Biden. Affiliated sites in other languages also saw controversy over widespread errors.
Big Tech has heavily relied on content from Wikipedia in recent years, particularly in the wake of concerns about “fake news” online. Last week, the Wikimedia Foundation, which owns Wikipedia, announced that it is launching Wikimedia Enterprise, a commercial service catering to major corporate clients. It aims to provide the service exclusively to corporations already using site content under its free license, specifically providing easier and more reliable access than under the current free system.
During the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at the end of February, people searching Google for information about the annual event briefly saw it branded on the search engine’s knowledge panel sidebar as a gathering of “neo-Nazis” and “rapists.” This followed repeated vandalism of the Wikipedia page on CPAC. Although the vandalism was quickly removed, established editors smeared the event as well by noting baseless claims that the conference stage copied a “Nazi” symbol.
Wikipedia’s page on the term “big lie” has been expanded with mention of Donald Trump’s claims of fraud in the 2020 Presidential election. Previously, the page focused on the Nazi Party using the term to describe what they claimed were false allegations Jews spread to vilify Germany following World War I, which helped fuel antisemitic sentiment in Germany and led to the mass slaughter of Jews during the Holocaust. Attempts at removing mention of Trump’s claims in the Wikipedia article have been repeatedly undone.
Former Saudi Oil Minister Ahmed Zaki Yamani, who died Tuesday, was an architect of the 1973 oil embargo and widely misreported by Arab-language media, including CNN’s Arab edition, to have been the first Secretary-General of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Arab News reported Wednesday that the claim of him serving as Secretary-General was false and attributed it to Yamani’s page on the Arabic Wikipedia, which has included the false claim since the page’s creation in 2005.
A Washington Post article published this week criticizes bias in political science articles on Wikipedia. However, rather than attacking the left-wing bias afflicting political articles, the author argues instead the problem is articles not citing enough female authors and academics. The author, Samuel Baltz, boasted of trying to fix this “bias” by expanding coverage of women in political articles, while otherwise celebrating Wikipedia’s “political and ideological neutrality” in its coverage.
An article about Wikipedia published last Thursday on the Fox News website examined the left-wing bias of the online encyclopedia. Larry Sanger, co-founder of Wikipedia, stated in an interview for the article: “The days of Wikipedia’s robust commitment to neutrality are long gone.” Fox also interviewed economics professor Bryan Caplan regarding the slanted coverage of communism and socialism on their Wikipedia pages, notably the omission of atrocities carried out by communist governments.
After the January 6 Capitol riot, Wikipedia editors distorted the facts of the event and even categorized it as a “coup” despite objections. Editors have also misrepresented the fraud allegations surrounding the 2020 election and supporting evidence in order to discredit them. Several editors have even been banned due to comments criticizing Wikipedia’s bias on each subject.
The Wikimedia Foundation, which owns Wikipedia, announced last week that its Board of Trustees has approved a new “code of conduct” for the site and its affiliated sites. Plans for a code of conduct had been announced last year and an early draft pushing left-wing identity politics submitted for public comment a few months later. Several clarifying changes were made following the comment period, with final changes after approval broadening the scope of restrictions on “intimidating” content.
The San Francisco Board of Education voted to rename 44 of the city’s schools, claiming that prominent figures from American history, such as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Paul Revere, were tied to racist incidents. The committee based their decisions on Wikipedia and other wildly inaccurate information to source its claims.
Guy Chapman, a Wikipedia administrator with special site privileges, was criticized late last year for banning an Antifa opponent from editing the far-left group’s page. Editors cited Chapman’s pro-Antifa stance as conflicting with policies against administrators using privileges when involved in disputes. Chapman subsequently resigned citing unrelated stress over disputes about the 2020 election results. This month in posts about pro-Donald Trump protestors storming the Capitol over election fraud allegations, Chapman claimed Breitbart News’ coverage of Wikipedia has undermined faith in the online encyclopedia.
Last week the Wikimedia Foundation, which owns Wikipedia, responded to a defamation complaint submitted by conservative documentary filmmaker Lauren Southern. Her complaint noted numerous misrepresentations, omissions, and falsehoods, on the site’s page about her. In its response, the Foundation legal team stated that it was investigating her complaints and would conclude that investigation in early January.
When CNN became embroiled in controversy in 2017 after it threatened to identify the creator of a satirical image tweeted by President Donald Trump, left-wing Wikipedia editors had the Wikipedia article on the incident removed and its contents buried at the bottom of a page on CNN controversies. Editors proceeded to remove nearly a third of the CNN controversies article and have continued censoring the article up to the current year, including the controversy over its coverage of the 2020 election.
The government of Pakistan threatened unspecified “legal action” against Wikipedia and Google this weekend for featuring content about Ahmadi Muslims — considered “impostor” Muslims by radical Islamists — and for featuring cartoons of Muhammad in search results.
Although corporate media who praise Wikipedia as a counter to “fake news” have simultaneously criticized it for perceived gaps in coverage on gender and race, the site also shows a gap in its coverage of Christmas, the most widely-celebrated holiday on Earth other than New Year’s Day. In contrast to the generally under-developed nature of the site’s Christmas content, articles covering video games and the show South Park are generally more developed.
Documentary filmmaker Lauren Southern has submitted a defamation complaint to Wikipedia in response to a long-running smear campaign against her on the online encyclopedia by the site’s left-wing editors. Southern’s past activities have been misrepresented or taken out of context, such as details regarding her ban from entering the U.K. over prior political speech and her speaking events in Australia and New Zealand, which were subject to repeated cancellations following activist pressure campaigns. As Southern explains, “I don’t even recognize the individual they call ‘Lauren Southern’ on Wikipedia.”
Since the election of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Wikipedia editors have been downplaying or removing mention of controversies from her page. This has included minimizing mention of antisemitism controversies over her comments about Israel and its supporters, excluding mention of personal scandals, and censoring details about Turkish lobbying ties. Editors have meanwhile given considerable attention to alleged mistreatment of her by others, particularly President Donald Trump who editors tied to threats Omar received.
The media and Big Tech censored the Hunter Biden laptop story, falsely claiming it was Russian disinformation. Here are some major offenders.
A study published Tuesday in the Journal of Management Information Systems examined the gender bias of Wikipedia articles. Comparing Wikipedia’s treatment of 50 female Fortune 1000 CEOs to similar groups of male CEOs, the study found the men were 22 percent less likely to have articles on the site than female executives, and the women had generally higher-quality articles as well. The researchers concluded this demonstrates activist editors overcorrecting for the site’s gender bias, leading to a bias towards women and suggested similar overcorrection could arise in other groups.
In an article published Sunday in the Signpost, Wikipedia’s in-house newsletter, one editor involved in purging conservative media from the site responded to an article in British magazine the Critic, which analyzed left-wing bias on the site and suggested this purge was one result. The Signpost writer defended the process by claiming conservative media is generally less reliable. He further claimed Wikipedia was “center-right” citing a study relying on the political affiliation of people linking to sites on social media.
Newsmax has seen growing audiences at its online and televised news platforms since the disputed 2020 Presidential election amid President Donald Trump’s criticism of other conservative media coverage. After a Wikipedia editor suggested having the outlet treated as reliable, other editors responded by having Newsmax banned from use as a source for factual claims instead, partly citing its coverage of election fraud allegations, making it the latest conservative outlet banned on Wikipedia in an ongoing purge.
Multiple academic studies and critical analyses of Wikipedia have pointed towards the site’s left-wing bias. The findings include its content being more left-leaning than Encyclopedia Britannica and left-leaning editors being more active and partisan than right-leaning editors. Left-wing outlets have been found to be the top-cited sources and represent most citations on articles about American politicians, and right-leaning editors have at the same time been found to be six times more likely to face sanctions.
Page view statistics on Wikipedia indicated that on the day of the U.S. Presidential election, which hinges on mere thousands of votes in key states, the page on Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden saw an additional 66,000 views for 110,000 views total. Readers of the page would see allegations of him having corrupt foreign business dealings called “debunked conspiracy theories” and, due to editors censoring the page, find no mention of recent New York Post bombhells on apparent Biden e-mails lending credence to corruption allegations.
Leading up to the 2020 Presidential election, Wikipedia editors worked tirelessly to swing articles towards Democratic nominee Joe Biden. This started with slanting articles on President Donald Trump’s impeachment where allegations against Biden figured strongly. It continued with editors pushing the Black Lives Matter agenda on which Biden sought to capitalize and sanitizing pages of his vice-presidential prospects, including Kamala Harris. Finally, editors sought to suppress revelations about Biden family corruption, aided by well-timed restrictions on conservative media.