Wikipedia

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Wikipedia - the free encyclopedia

Wikipedia is a multilingual online encyclopedia created in 2001 by bourgeois libertarians Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger. Wikipedia is maintained by a predominantly white male population, of which about 1% are responsible for 80% of edits. It has also been linked to corporate and governmental manipulation and imperialist agendas, including the U.S. State Department, World Bank,[1] FBI, CIA, and New York Police Department.[2]

Its popularity means that it is a prime target for misinformation campaigns by state actors or corporate interests. This was, in part, the reasoning behind starting ProleWiki.

Wikipedia uses the same software that ProleWiki and EcuRed use, called MediaWiki.

Concept

Wikipedia claims its main purpose to be:

"benefit readers by acting as a widely accessible and free encyclopedia; a comprehensive written compendium that contains information on all branches of knowledge."[3]

It further claims that it seeks to create the more expansive and widely-available encyclopedia ever to have been created, It further states:

"The goal of a Wikipedia article is to present a neutrally written summary of existing mainstream knowledge in a fair and accurate manner with a straightforward, "just-the-facts style". Articles should have an encyclopedic style with a formal tone instead of essay-like, argumentative, promotional or opinionated writing."[3]

It also claims:

"Wikipedia's content is governed by three principal core content policies - neutral point of view, verifiability, and no original research."[3]

However, these statement are all idealism, considering the "mainstream" sources of knowledge are controlled almost totally by the capitalist media, its users almost entirely come from liberal regimes, and Wikipedia's policies permit capitalist groups to pay people to edit particular pages.[4]

Criticism

Screenshot of wikipedia sources many of which are anti-communist
Western anti-communist sources are prevalently used on English Wikipedia.

Administration and users

Founder Jimmy Wales

Wikipedia's founder, Jimmy Wales, is a self-described Ayn Rand libertarian[5] and anarcho-capitalist[1] who also willfully participates in imperialist operations at the request of the US government. In a 2007 US Senate Committee, Wales stated:

I am grateful to be here today to testify about the potential for the Wikipedia model of collaboration and information sharing which may be helpful to government operations and homeland security.[5]

In addition to U.S. imperialism, Wales supported Israel's bombing of Gaza in 2018.[1]

While the website is technically managed by the Wikimedia foundation, it was created by Wales himself and he remains on the board of trustees[6] and is still seen as a "benevolent dictator, constitutional monarch, digital evangelist and spiritual leader".[7]

CEO Katherine Maher

Katherine Maher, the current CEO of the foundation, previously worked for the World Bank, specifically in the African and Middle-East divisions.[8] She also worked at the National Democratic Institute and is a fellow at the Truman National Security Project. In a June 2020 article from The Grayzone, authors Ben Norton and Max Blumenthal delved deeper into Maher's connections to regime-change operatives and unearthed her whole résumé which links her to more imperialist organisations and institutes.[5] In April 2017, she participated in a briefing for the U.S. State Department and appeared in a panel with the former director of the CIA and NSA in 2018. She is now on the advisory board of the Open Technology Fund, which was created by CIA propaganda outlet Radio Free Asia.[1]

User demographics

While Wikipedia boasts that anyone can contribute, in truth only 1% of accounts are responsible for 80% of all edits.[9] Famously, the most prolific editor on Wikipedia (Steven Pruitt), who has edited 1/3rd of all articles, works for the US department of border control, with previous employment at the TSA and ICE.[10] Other accounts in this 1% figure are people such as Philip Cross, who posts without fail every single day from 6AM to 10PM[11] and has over 100,000 edits.[12] This user makes and pro-war, Zionist, and climate change denialist edits,[13] which highly suggests that the account is a sockpuppet managed by a whole governmental team, likely the British.[14]

Administrators

Administrators on the site are editors with user-management powers (such as banning people, or preventing articles from being edited). In a perhaps lighter example, it was found in 2020 that Scots Wikipedia was almost solely edited and managed by a 19-year-old US citizen who was not a fluent speaker of Scots.[15] He was responsible for defacing almost half of Scots Wikipedia, and it is interesting to see here how easily administrator privileges are given to random users by other administrators, suggesting a widespread problem in the hierarchy. There have been various examples in the past of administrators who used their privileges to prevent their articles from being edited (therefore presenting their biased opinion as fact), or even asking for payment to let an edit through.

Wikipedia is purposely kept difficult to edit (providing only a plain-text markup editor, resolving conflicts through talk pages that have been filling up since 2010, etc.) so that administrators, most of whom have been editing Wikipedia since it became famous in 2003, can keep problematic users out.

Administrators are the supreme decision-making authority, making them very worthwhile friends to have. They are also not accountable to anyone and can freely pick new people to join their ranks. It is not rare for users going against the agenda set out by the administrators to simply be banned on frivolous grounds. Around 1000 IP addresses are banned by Wikipedia administrators every day. There is little privacy and users may be traced and tracked by Wikipedia administrators.[16]

Anonymous or non-prolific users

Wikipedia permits people paid by pro-capitalist organizations to edit on their articles.[4]

New users who do not take time to learn of the obscure templates, navigate through the very strict (and sometimes absurd) editorial guidelines or do not socialize with other users will often see their edits reverted in mere minutes, no matter how accurate or labour-intensive they are.

The Wikimedia foundation will still claim that their encyclopedia is "community-created". This is mainly a convenient lie for Wales to make it seem like his libertarian principles can work on a large scale. This has prompted Ben Norton to call Wikipedia a scam[17] (in the interest of Jimmy Wales' bourgeois, libertarian interests). In truth, much like libertarianism itself, it remains controlled by corporate elites and imperialist organisations.

Sexism

Women have been speaking about the sexism they faced on Wikipedia for many years, as about 90% of the user base is male according to Wikipedia's own study.[18]

Women are generally discouraged from participating through widespread bullying and harassment.[19] Notably, several women were brought on board various projects aimed at reducing "gender bias" (Wikipedia's technical term for its sexist atmosphere), and all left after facing repeated harassment. This issue has been brought to the Wikimedia foundation's attention, to which founder Jimmy Wales responded, in one case:

I’m afraid I don’t know enough about the specific details here to be able to make a meaningful comment.[20]

Articles about famous women are often deleted or see their edits reverted, putting them off the spotlight. Edits by women themselves are often reverted as well, no matter how good the quality may be.

Racism and white supremacy

Since most Wikipedia editors are white, it follows that Wikipedia will promote white supremacist points.

Congolese genocide denial

The article on the genocide that happened in the Congo Free State[21] (the Belgian colony of the Congo), is actually called Atrocities in the Congo Free State, following a dispute between white and minority users over the previous name, Congolese Genocide.

User Brigade Piron,[22] a white Belgian nationalist editor, claims that the term genocide is contested and currently, the article contradicts itself, first making it seem like the Congolese Genocide was caused mainly by disease, later saying it was caused by "harsh economic exploitation, rather than a policy of deliberate extermination".[21] Most edits of the article come from another white European, user Indy Beetle, from Switzerland.[23]

Corruption

Although Wikipedia purports to be a reliable and neutral source of knowledge, it has been mangled by several known cases of corruption, involving paid editors hired to whitewash their clients' reputation. Former lawyer, user edsussman has been hired by Facebook PR, news companies Axios and NBC to tweak pages related to the respective client in a favorable manner, all while adhering to the rules of the site.[24]

Wikipedia censorship of trustworthy news media.
These are news sources which Wikipedia considers unreliable. Highlighted in yellow are actually trustworthy sources of information which disputes the US imperialist propaganda narrative.

Bias by design

Ultimately, Wikipedia is designed to promote imperialist interests; it naturally follows that Wikipedia will also promote white supremacist, anti-Semitic, fascist and sexist viewpoints in their articles.

Not only are most edits made by accounts managed by/for corporations and government agencies, the whole website structure is made to keep this agenda in place and going strong. Yet the Wikimedia Foundation would like to make people believe that Wikipedia is edited by "anyone" and that every article is therefore trustworthy.

Ties to imperialist organizations

The Wikiscanner tracing program has revealed that the CIA and FBI edited Wikipedia articles on the Iraq War and Guantánamo Bay prison.[25]

Funding

In spite of Wikipedia systematically and regularly requesting its readers to "donate," Wikipedia, along with its parent organisations, makes over $100 million each year, far more than the basic amount for its upkeep.[1] Furthermore, the Wikimedia Foundation has ties with Western megacorporations, such as Amazon,[26] and some of its largest donors are Google, Microsoft, and Apple.[1]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Ben Norton, Max Blumenthal (2020-06-11). "Meet Wikipedia’s Ayn Rand-loving founder and Wikimedia Foundation’s regime-change operative CEO" The Grayzone. Archived from the original on 2022-08-16. Retrieved 2022-09-10.
  2. Stansfield Smith (2022-07-02). "US national security state censoring anti-imperialists to control ‘compatible left’" Multipolarista. Archived from the original on 2022-08-30. Retrieved 2022-09-10.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Wikipedia:Purpose". Wikipedia. Retrieved 2022-7-16.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Wikipedia:Paid-contribution disclosure". Wikipedia. Retrieved 2022-6-28.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Sophia Norton and Max Blumenthal.
  6. Jimmy Wales profile. Wikimedia Foundation.
  7. Noam Cohen. “Open-Source Troubles in Wiki World”. New York Times, 17 March 2008.
  8. Katherine Maher profile. Wikimedia Foundation.
  9. Grace Lisa Scott. “Wikipedia Study Reveals a Surprising Stat About Who Edits It”. Inverse, 9 August 2017.
  10. http://archive.ph/ix7kx
  11. Craig Murray. “The Philip Cross Affair”, 18 May 2018.
  12. "Phillip Cross: The Mystery Wikipedia Editor Targeting Anti-War Sites". MintPress News. Archived from the original on 2022-08-16. Retrieved 2022-09-10.
  13. "How Wikipedia is used to prop up the imperialist lie machine" (2018-08-20). Proletarian. Archived from the original on 2022-05-19. Retrieved 2022-12-18.
  14. Media Lens. “Phillip Cross: The Mystery Wikipedia Editor Targeting Anti-War Sites”. Mint Press News, 17 October 2018.
  15. Libby Brooks, Alex Hern. “Shock an aw: US teenager wrote huge slice of Scots Wikipedia”. The Guardian, 26 August 2020.
  16. “The Dark Side of Wikipedia”. Full Measure, 21 August 2016.
  17. https://twitter.com/BenjaminNorton/status/1227725961975803905
  18. https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b7/LE15_Gender_overall_in_2018.png
  19. Emma Paling. “Wikipedia's hostility to women”. The Atlantic, 21 October 2015.
  20. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:Jimbo_Wales/Archive_178#Said_at_GGTF_arbitration
  21. 21.0 21.1 https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Atrocities_in_the_Congo_Free_State&oldid=986289478
    Quoting the article in question:

    "The significant number of deaths under the Free State regime has led some scholars to relate the atrocities to later genocides, though understanding of the losses under the colonial administration's rule as the result of harsh economic exploitation rather than a policy of deliberate extermination has led others to dispute the comparison; there is an open debate as to whether the atrocities constitute genocide."

    We have also a full page print if Wikipedia ever decides to take the article down. This cited quote was taken from the section Historiography and the term "genocide".
  22. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Brigade_Piron
  23. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Atrocities_in_the_Congo_Free_State&offset=&limit=500&action=history
    Contains more than 160 edits by Wikipedia user Indy Beetle.
  24. Ashley Feinberg. “Facebook, Axios And NBC paid this guy to whitewash Wikipedia pages”. The Huffpost, 14 March 2019.
  25. Randall Mikkelsen (2007-08-16). "CIA, FBI computers used for Wikipedia edits" Reuters. Archived from the original on 2022-04-11. Retrieved 2022-05-24.
  26. “Just five years later, the endowment passed $90 million, and the $100 million mark, now described as an “initial goal,” will be reached this year. Major donations from Amazon, Google, Facebook, and others have been supplemented by legacy gifts—and $25 million from the WMF itself.

    It’s noteworthy that money donated to the endowment is not included in the WMF’s reported net assets ($180 million as of last June) or annual revenue ($130 million). Money the WMF pays into the endowment, however, is recorded under expenditures (“Awards and Grants”). These two facts disguise that the WMF has effectively operated with a far larger surplus for the past five years than its financial statements indicate—they “only” show a $100 million increase in net assets over that time period. In reality, the WMF’s total funds have increased by twice as much.

    The endowment is not the only money Wikimedia funnels to the Tides Foundation. Last year, when the WMF literally had more money than it knew what to do with, with community events canceled due to the pandemic, it transferred another $8.7 million to a new “Tides Advocacy” fund.”

    Andreas Kolbe (2021-5-24). "Wikipedia is swimming in money—why is it begging people to donate?" Daliy Dot. Retrieved 2022-7-30.

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