Why Wikimedia banned seven Chinese based editors for ‘infiltration'

Ban (law), Mainland China

Earlier this week, in an unprecedented step, Wikimedia Foundation, which oversees Wikipedia, banned seven editors based out of Mainland China over “infiltration concerns.” Plus, the non-profit revoked access of 12 editors from an “unrecognized group.”

The foundation investigated an unofficial group of 300 Wikipedia power users, known as Wikimedians of Mainland China (). It found out that some of the group’s editors were taking unfair advantage of their privileges to  promote “the aims of China, as interpreted through whatever filters they may bring to bear.” 

Despite this accusation, Maggie Dennis, the vice president of the foundation, told that she’s not in a position to “point fingers at the Chinese state.”

In the past, there have been also accusations of rigged elections that resulted in the selection of certain

It’s notable that China blocked access . However, some of the users have stayed active by accessing the site through VPN services.

In July, Hong Kong Free Press reported about to change the narrative of ongoing battles between countries. The story noted that China-based editors threatened to report a select Hong Kong editors to the city’s police.

The Wikimedia foundation’s investigation also highlighted the risk of physical harm to certain volunteers. A few weeks ago, it had restricted access to users’ personally identifiable information in regions such as China. It said that despite this limitation, “some users have been physically harmed as a result of infiltration.”

Dennis said that these steps shouldn’t discourage other users from the international Chinese language community from joining the organization.

In response to these actions, Wikimedians of Mainland China alleged the foundation is acting against “feelings and opinions of the community”.

Between all this tussle it’s important for Wikipedia to keep an eye on pages containing sensitive information. As millions access the site thinking of it as the best source for details on a topic, it’s necessary that they get the most accurate and factual.

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