Project Venezuela: right-wing activists push Wikipedia to blacklist MintPress, other Alternative Media
A group of right-wing Venezuelans has managed to ban the use of a range of alternative media outlets covering Venezuela, including MintPress News.
by Alan Macleod
Part 3 - A tool to propagate the biases of the ruling elite
While the popular view of Wikipedia is that it is a collective public undertaking that anyone and everyone can add to, in reality, the online encyclopedia has come to mirror the inequalities present in society.
The more edits you do, the more power, prestige and influence you accrue, allowing individuals to wield unreasonable power over the world’s 13th most visited website. A class of powerful editors has emerged, who spend hours every day editing and changing content how they see fit.
There are strong suspicions that governments and other wealthy organizations are paying people – or teams of people using the same account – to moderate the site full-time, and these power users openly advertise their services to corporations or other groups who want to sanitize or promote their image by changing their pages. Because these users have climbed the Wikipedia hierarchy, their edits become law and are very difficult to overrule.
The CIA has been exposed changing the pages of politically sensitive topics, such as the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon, an FBI computer was spotted editing the entry on Guantanamo Bay, while the NYPD amended Eric Garner’s page and even tried to remove pages focussing on police brutality.
Israeli groups are also active on the site, conducting an information war, trying to improve the country’s image. The Guardian revealed they even gave out awards and prizes like free balloon rides for those selected as the “best Zionist editor.”
Thus, the site has effectively been turned into “a tool to propagate the reigning ideology and biases of the ruling elites,” in the words of former New York Times journalist Chris Hedges.
As Wikipedia has shown little interest in opposing the site being slowly taken over by organized groups, it is unlikely that the mass blacklisting will be overturned.