Information Warfare and Wikipedia

Wikipedia has become a quick and easy reference point for online readers searching for information; however, while a number of strong protective measures are in place to prevent and rollback erroneous edits, because it is an online encyclopedia that is created and edited solely by volunteers around the world, there is still room for error and mis/disinformation.  In their new report, Information Warfare and Wikipedia, the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) and CASM Technology (CASM) “set out to examine the ways in which Wikipedia may be vulnerable to the forms of systematic manipulation that have been exposed on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Reddit and a number of other information spaces.”

Focusing on a case study of the English-language Wikipedia page for the Russo-Ukrainian war, this report examines the identity and activity of 86 users who were blocked from editing the page in order to unearth how malicious actors can find ways to infiltrate pages, create mistrust amongst the community of editors, and avoid detection.  This study also aims to provide methodologies that can be put to the test in order to help reveal further suspicious activity that has yet to be discovered.

For more resources related to this piece, check out HSDL’s In Focus on Disinformation and Cyber Crime and National Security.

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