How Hong Kong’s keyboard warriors have besieged Wikipedia
(Reuters) – Beyond Hong Kong’s tear gas-drenched streets and shattered universities, another battle has been raging over the city’s depiction online on the crowd-sourced internet encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
As anti-government demonstrations have intensified, articles on subjects from Hong Kong’s leadership to its police force have been ceaselessly rewritten for months on the website, used by millions everyday to check facts and untangle complex issues.
(Click tmsnrt.rs/37IPxAZ to see an interactive graphic on the Hong Kong Wiki wars.)
A Reuters analysis found a seven-fold surge in edits of the Hong Kong Police Force page over the 10 months to October, compared with a year earlier. Similar spikes occurred in articles about the protests and Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam.
Changes swapped facts for insults or inserted slabs of material that upset the balance of the articles.
Where it was possible to determine the location of the editor, 40% of edits were found to have been filed from computers in Hong Kong. Internet users can disguise their location by using a virtual private network (VPN).
The number of daily edits spiked during particularly intense clashes on the territory’s streets, and prompted Wiki administrators to restrict editing access to some pages, a common practice adopted with controversial issues.
Now, unregistered users and very new accounts cannot alter those ar