Wikipedia: The Wikimedia Foundation announced last Monday (13) that it had banned seven Chinese publishers infiltrated from Wikipedia, who were “threatening the fundamentals of the platform”. The unprecedented move, which also included the removal of administrator privileges from 12 other people, was taken after nearly a year of investigations.
According to Wikimedia Foundation Vice President Maggie Dennis, the banned users were linked to a group known as the “Wikimedians of Mainland China” (WMC), made up of nearly 300 people. They would be editing Wikipedia articles to promote “China’s goals,” applying a series of filters to publications.
These editors were even accused of threatening and extorting volunteers from the platform in Hong Kong, contrary to the Chinese government. According to the Hong Kong Free Press website, which had denounced the problems in July, some of them suggested releasing details of these people and reporting them to the local police.
In addition to pushing for the use of Chinese state media as a credible news source in writing articles related to the protests in Hong Kong, the insiders are also said to be acting in another area. There was concern that they were manipulating the elections for new administrators of the collaborative service.
Group contests ban
WMC members criticized the US-based foundation’s actions, saying they were based on unsubstantiated claims. The group also complains about the absence of the banned editors’ right of reply and accuses Wikimedia of trying to eliminate the Chinese community from the service.
An upcoming public session will address exclusions, as well as discuss ways to avoid “community capture” and hold fair elections. According to Dennis, volunteers need to be confident that there is no fraud in choosing new members.
Banning users and revoking access are relatively rare measures on the platform. With the most recent cases, Wikipedia has banned a total of 93 users since 2012.