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Wikipedia has blocked up to 381 user accounts on the English version of its website for creating pages that are considered to be both promotional in nature and deliberately disingenuous in terms of content.
The online encyclopedia also revealed that its investigation, codenamed Orangemoody, had discovered that in addition to generating new pages, some of the users had also been modifying existing pages for commercial gain.
This kind of duplicitous activity is described by Wikipedia as “sock puppetry”. More specifically, it refers to the use of “multiple Wikipedia accounts for an improper use”.
As well as blocking 381 accounts, its editors have also deleted up to 210 articles that had been posted to Wikipedia and were clearly indicative of “undisclosed paid advocacy”.
“Most of these articles, which were related to businesses, business people, or artists, were generally promotional in nature, and often included biased or skewed information, unattributed material, and potential copyright violations,” it expanded.
“The edits made by the sockpuppets are similar enough that the community believes they were perpetrated by one coordinated group.”
Wikimedia added that opposition to such practice on the English version of the website goes back as far as 2004.
Since then it has reinforced its opposition to the publication of articles that clearly contradicts its ethos of accuracy, neutrality and reliability.
Accordingly, Wikipedia needs to actively monitor all activity on its website to ensure that it delivers the kind of service it prides itself on.
The most edited page on the English version of Wikipedia is a profile of George W. Bush. This is followed by a list of personnel from the WWE, the United States, Wikipedia itself, Michael Jackson, Jesus and the Catholic Church.
Author Karl Thomas, ESET