- Like Foxes Guarding the Henhouse: How Public Opinion is Manipulated on Wikipedia
Independent German investigators Markus Fiedler and Dirk Pohlmann have told Sputnik Deutschland about some of the mysterious Wikipedia editors they say are responsible for ‘safeguarding’ mainstream viewpoints on the world’s largest and most influential free online encyclopedia.
With Germans’ trust in the mass media on the decline, more and more people are turning to the internet for their news and information. However, here too, search engine inquiries are filtered, with Google often directing queries directly to Wikipedia, the free, multilingual online encyclopedia which anyone can theoretically edit.
However, as independent bloggers Markus Fiedler and Dirk Pohlmann have found out, as important and valuable as Wikipedia is, its ‘freely editable’ model definitely doesn’t mean an absence of censorship and biased political activism.
“If you’re a journalist preparing to interview someone, chances are you’ll look on Wikipedia to find out who this person is. If it’s written that they’re an anti-Semite and supporter of conspiracy theories, as is often the case with people who someone doesn’t happen to like, there probably won’t be much interest in interviewing them,” Pohlmann explained.
“In other words, on Wikipedia one quite often finds a [political] coloring of this or that public person and whether they are believable or not. And this is a very effective tool,” he added.