Wikipedia, the largest online encyclopedia, allows anyone to feed the platform with information relevant to other people. This is why the encyclopedia has often been criticized, since much of that information may not be critical. Now, a new case has been revealed that reinforces criticism of Wikipedia.
A Chinese citizen who wrote her Wikipedia entries under the alias ‘Zhemao’ has been writing lines she invented about Russian history for at least 10 years. It is estimated that ‘Zhemao’ wrote more than 200 articles and has contributed to hundreds of other articles published by others. She even falsified her biography to gain the trust of readers more easily; According to her biography, she was the daughter of a Russian diplomat and was also married to a Russian citizen.
But the encyclopedia was not the first to discover this forgery. Yifan, a fantasy novelist, scoured the internet for inspiration for one of his novels, in the search, he came across ‘Zhemao’ articles. At that moment, he realized that the events narrated by the Chinese citizen did not correspond to what really happened in Russia. The Asian medium Sixth Tone was in charge of collecting the testimony and making it public; You’ve then found out about Wikipedia and started investigations.
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“Characters that do not exist in the English-Russian Wiki appear in the Chinese Wiki, and these characters are mixed with real historical figures so that the real cannot be distinguished from the fake. Even a long Moscow-Tver war revolves around the non-existent Kashin silver mine,” Yifan commented. To give the stories more credibility, the Chinese wrote them with a technical tone, according to the rest of the stories that reside on Wikipedia.
The Wikipedia foundation, in charge of the encyclopedia, verified that the stories contained fictitious historical data. After that, they made the decision to withdraw both the profile and the articles of the Asian citizen. For her part, ‘Zhemao’ claimed to be a full-time housewife and only has a high school degree. She also took the opportunity to apologize to the public.
“I was reluctant to delete the hundreds of thousands of words I wrote, but as a result, I ended up losing millions of words, and a circle of academic friends collapsed. The problems I’ve caused are hard to make up for, so maybe the only option is a permanent ban. My current knowledge is not enough to make a living. So in the future I will learn a trade, work honestly, and never do nebulous things like this again,” she says.