Wikipedia Blocks Pages Related to US Elections to Fight Disinformation

Wikipedia Blocks Pages Related to US Elections to Fight Disinformation

Wikipedia has blocked its home election page ahead of the U.S. presidential election so that only certain editors can make changes, as part of preparations to combat potential misinformation and abuses related to Tuesday’s vote.

Alphabet’s platforms rely on articles in the online encyclopedia, written primarily by unpaid volunteers. Google to Amazon voice assistant Alexa to give your users information and context.

“We don’t care about hooligans who just want to spoil an item to cause a little trouble. Wikipedia the community takes care of those problems at breakfast, “said Ryan Merkley, chief of staff for the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit organization that hosts Wikipedia, said in a telephone interview.

“We are really concerned about coordinated actors … trying to find a way to disseminate information … in a way that can make people, for example, choose not to vote or influence the election outcome based on something. that was not true. ”

Internet researchers say Wikipedia, which claims to be committed to neutrality, has emerged as a relatively trustworthy site, while major social platforms such as Facebook Y Twitter They have fought to stop viral misinformation.

This year, Merkley said, the Wikimedia Foundation organized for the first time a disinformation task force to hold election exercises with staff and community members.

Last week, community members moved to add additional protections to the ‘2020 United States Presidential Election’ article so that only users who have had a registered account for more than 30 days and made 500 edits to the site can modify the page.

Merkley said Wikipedia has seen the creation of fake accounts, people making fake edits for screenshots and sharing on social media, and attempts to use content from untrustworthy sources or skew articles in a biased way.

He said the Wikimedia Foundation had been meeting with industry partners and U.S. government officials, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security, but had yet to see any state actors singled out by government officials. that operated on Wikipedia.

A Wikimedia spokeswoman said that there are currently 72 English Wikipedia articles related to the US elections and that there are about 2,600 editors ‘watching’ those pages receiving alerts for any edit.

Merkley said staff rarely make interventions, but there could be cases around elections, such as direct calls to violence, where they would remove content or take action against a user.

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