A new report from HuffPost has revealed that the information on many of Wikipedia’s top pages is being manipulated by paid contributors.
The report highlights how Facebook, NBC, Axios, and other companies have previously hired Wikipedia editors as consultants in order to get preferential edits approved on their Wikipedia pages.
It focuses on the work of the consultant Ed Sussman who offers a range of Wikipedia reputation management services through White Hat Wiki. Once hired, Sussman suggests favorable edits to Wikipedia pages on behalf of his clients and according to HuffPost, most of Sussman’s edits end up being approved.
Paid consultants are allowed to write or update Wikipedia articles if they fully disclose their paid consulting work on the Wikipedia “Talk” pages of the articles they work on. However, most users who visit Wikipedia never look at these internal “Talk” pages, so suggested edits and updates from these paid consultants are largely hidden from visitors to Wikipedia.
These paid contributors are one of the many ways Wikipedia’s pages are becoming increasingly manipulated and filled with biased information. Since 2017, Wikipedia’s editors have started to censor right-leaning websites and they have also been called out for locking down pages and stopping the Wikipedia community from updating them.