Dec 14, 2018 | Updated: 09:51 PM EST

Wikipedia Blocks 381 “Black Hat” Accounts

Sep 06, 2015 09:16 PM EDT

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Wikipedia allegedly blocked more than 300 accounts and deleted 210 articles because of "sock-puppet" scamming, wherein editors, on this communally sourced encyclopedia get paid to post, create or edit entries.

"The person making the contact would usually claim to be an experienced editor or administrator," a statement by a community post by Ed Erhart and Julie Barbara of Wikimedia Foundation. Scammers usually asked for $30 per month.  

According to RT's report, the sock-puppet scamming worked through "accounts that contacted editors after proposed changes have gone ahead and offered to make edits but for a price."

Initially, they make their accounts look legitimate by presenting to prospective clients minor changes and then asking for additional money to maintain the changes made.

Wikipedia is composed mostly of volunteers that are not disclosed. In a statement, Erhart and Barbara said, "Neutrality is key to ensuring Wikipedia's quality."

"Although it does not happen often, undisclosed paid advocacy editing may represent a serious conflict of interest and could compromise the quality of content on Wikipedia," they posted.

More potential entries are to be deleted as the investigation continues. This will include articles that "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."

Investigations showed that accounts were utilized from late April to early August. However, some edits revealed that it has been operating for "sometime."

In line with this, they remind people that "editing Wikipedia is completely free, and only requires compliance with the project's editorial guidelines... No one should ever have to pay to create or maintain a Wikipedia article."

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