Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Wikipedia Editors Uncover Extortion Scam

Lauren C. Williams (via Mark Bernstein):

The Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit organization that sponsors but does not operate Wikipedia, announced Monday that at least 381 accounts have been suspended for “black hat” editing, in which editors charge and accept money for “to promote external interests.”


What makes Orangemoody different are its guerrilla recruiting efforts and the group preying on new or gullible Wikipedia users. “This syndicate went out and looked at articles that were being deleted and went and contacted people who were new and wanted an article but were rejected,” Lih said. “WikiPR was not recruiting people to our knowledge; people would approach them.”

Moreover, Orangemoody editors created false threats and, from separate accounts, members would threaten to delete an article and, through another account, tell clients they can ensure the page won’t get deleted for a $30 monthly fee even though most of the pages didn’t meet Wikipedia’s notability standard, which require the article subject to have extensive media coverage — that excludes company websites or press releases, or passing mentions, such as in a listicle.

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