‘That’s propaganda’: Wikipedia co-founder criticizes website’s monitoring of ‘socialism’ page

Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger says his former website is censoring opposing views of socialism on its page.

Sanger, who has been critical of Wikipedia since parting ways with the website, claimed its moderators are selectively editing the pages of the two political philosophies in a way that has dangerous implications for those attempting to study the subjects objectively.

“I think probably the biggest thing that it means is that when schoolkids go, and they look up answers to questions about the meaning of ‘socialism’ … they’re going to find an explanation that completely ignores any conservative, libertarian, or critical treatment of the subject,” he told columnist Carrie Sheffield during a broadcast of Just the News AM with Carrie Sheffield on Pluto TV. “And that’s really problematic. That’s not education. That’s propaganda.”


The website’s co-founder said Wikipedia “truly was committed to neutrality” at the time of its founding in 2005, a policy that changed “about 10 years ago” as “liberals or leftists made their march through the institutions … and basically took [Wikipedia] over.”

“They started getting rid of citations from conservative sources, even conservative sources that were cited in order to explain the conservative point of view. At least in some cases, that was the case, and more and more, certain points of view were castigated and labeled,” he continued.

Sanger’s comments appear to support the claims of T.D. Adler, a former Wikipedia editor under the name “The Devil’s Advocate,” who accused the online encyclopedia of editing conservative broadcaster Mark Levin’s Wikipedia page in an unflattering way.

“Levin warned his audience during his show early in 2018 to ‘Avoid Wikipedia like the plague’ after reading the content that had been added to his page,” Adler wrote. “Since then, Levin’s article has been expanded with even more slanted negative material, and most efforts to remove smears have been repeatedly rejected.”

When others tried to remove the anti-Levin changes that editors had made, Adler said that Wikipedia editor “Snooganssnoogans” then “repeatedly undid” the edits “well in excess of what is allowed by Wikipedia policy” without sanction.

Other Wikipedia co-founders disagree, arguing that online platforms have been too lenient toward conservative voices.

“With Donald Trump, they did a poor job of dealing with him for a very, very long time,” Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales told France’s Agence France-Presse. “He was clearly spreading disinformation. He was clearly being abusive to people.”

Wikipedia’s quality control protocol says there are “tens of thousands of regular editors” to the website, including “everyone from expert scholars to casual readers.” Although anyone other than blocked users can edit pages, a few hundred administrators are granted “special powers to enforce good behavior, and a judicial-style arbitration committee that considers the few situations remaining unresolved, and decides on withdrawal or restriction of editing privileges or other sanctions when needed, after all other consensus remedies have been tried.”

Wikipedia’s page explaining its editorial oversight notes that aspects of its editorial process tend to reduce “edit warring,” leading to general consensus on a particular page given the “great pressure in the long term for a common agreed version to emerge on that one page.”

“Editors who disagree are unable to write alternative articles or versions to express their differing viewpoints,” the Wikipedia page continues. “Ultimately, there is only one page upon which all must edit.”


Representatives for Wikipedia did not immediately reply to the Washington Examiner’s request for comment, but Sanger, who has since founded the Knowledge Standards Foundation, a “nonprofit defining tech standards for encyclopediasm,” characterized Wikipedia’s reaction to his outspokenness as one of apathy.

“They ignore me,” he said. “They don’t care what I say, and the feeling is mutual.”