Non-democratic governments limit access to truth through censorship and fill the gap with propaganda. Wikipedia allows bypassing censorship but can be manipulated by authorities through networks of paid advocates. Dictatorships like Russia or China easily corrupt experienced wikipedians and build networks of accounts supporting propaganda narratives while persecuting and intimidating editors who oppose it.

We build a digital watchdog for Wikipedia to identify propaganda and prevent the spread of misinformation across Wikipedias in different languages, and create comprehensive articles that help readers understand the real state of affairs.
Agents of influence
There’s a wide spectrum of paid advocates on Wikipedia who curate specific articles about politicians and parties or inject propaganda narratives into certain sensitive topics. Such activities are often carried out by PR firms working for governments, state-owned companies, and people close to power. The resources allow them to hire experienced editors and build their own networks of contributors for full-scale attacks on Wikipedia.
Our approach
We monitor a wide range of articles about top Russian officials, oligarchs, important political events, and those opposing Putin’s regime. This allows us to identify potential attacks early on and prevent blackmail or whitewashing. We also observe all the election processes and keep an eye on potentially malicious editors attempting to get extended rights in Wikipedia.

In 2019, we identified a network of contributors tied to Eugeny Prigozhin, coordinated through a dedicated online platform and engaged in political propaganda on Russian Wikipedia. We helped to block the core of the network and achieved a full ban on Prigozhin-affiliated media holdings (Internet Research Agency and Federal News Agency) in Wikipedia.

We openly published comprehensive biographies of Russian politicians or important events ( Alexander Beglov, 2019 Saint Petersburg gubernatorial election, the Palace Case, and persecution of the human rights organization Memorial).

However, in most cases we have to keep low profile and confiont PR firms and propagandists anonymously to avoid political persecution.

We develop, a Wikipedia monitoring tool to identify unusual, potentially malicious activity. It allows searching for editors with interest in specific controversial topics, analyzing their contributions in real-time, and tracking them across Wikipedia. In the future, we will enhance it with advanced machine learning to automate the search for various editing patterns and increase the number of insights generated. We plan to introduce as software-as-a-service with free access to selected trustworthy wikipedians.