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.
BBC News reports that the Wikimedia Foundation has stated that the site that bills itself as an online encyclopedia fell victim to an “infiltration” that aimed to promote the goals of China. The Wikimedia Foundation stated that the infiltration threatened the “very foundations of Wikipedia.”
Seven editors were banned by the foundation after it appeared that they had ties to a Mainland China group. The Wikimedians of Mainland China criticized the foundation for the decision, accusing Wikimedia of “baselessly slandering a small group of people.”
Wikimedia Foundation Vice President Maggie Dennis stated in a note to volunteers: “When it comes to office actions, the Wikimedia Foundation typically defaults to little public communication, but this case is unprecedented in scope and nature. While there remain limits to what we can reveal in order to protect the safety and privacy of users in that country and in that unrecognized group, I want to acknowledge that this action is a radical one and that this decision was not easily made.”
Dennis told BBC News that the foundation has been investigating the infiltration of the Chinese-language section of Wikipedia for almost a year, but “credible threats” to volunteers’ safety “led us to prioritize rapid response.” The foundation was reportedly attempting to prevent the “capture” of certain Wikipedia articles, which were being edited to favor a particular viewpoint.
The infiltrators reportedly attempted to promote “the aims of China, as interpreted through whatever filters they may bring to bear,” according to Dennis. “Controlling content was an aim,” she said, but added: “I am not in position to point fingers at the Chinese state nor in possession of information that would lead me to do so.”
Read more at BBC News here.
Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address email@example.com