In its investigation into paid-for ‘sockpuppet’ entries, free online encyclopedia site Wikipedia has come across hundreds of such user accounts who are breaching the site’s policy for promotional purposes. Executive editor of the Wikimedia Foundation, Sue Gardner said that several hundred accounts were suspect and editors have blocked more than 250 such accounts.
Gardner said that the aim of Wikipedia is to provide neutral, reliable information for the readers, adding that their team is examining the situation and exploring their options, the BBC reports. Wikipedia receives about 500 million unique visitors a month and considers paid-for advocacy a ‘black hat’ practice. Gardner said that such a practice violates the core principles that have made Wikipedia so valuable for so manypeople.
According to the report, most of the fake entries appear to originate from a US company called Wiki-PR, which claims to build, manage, and translate Wikipedia pages for over 12,000 people and companies. However, Wiki-PR denied breaching Wikipedia’s rules by promoting or advertising its clients’ agendas, and said that it merely wanted to ensure they were ‘presented accurately’ on the site.
Chief executive of Wiki-PR, Jordan French said that the PR in Wiki-PR is a misnomer – and they are a research and writing firm who fill a hole at Wikipedia for many subjects by researching and writing about it in an accurate and properly referenced way, the report added.