We’ve covered paid-editing scandals on Wikipedia before, but a new one has popped up that might be even larger. Motherboard reports that Wikipedia editors banned 381 accounts that were creating articles and “protecting” them against edits in return for money.
Most of these articles, which were related to businesses, business people, or artists, were generally promotional in nature, and often included biased or skewed information, unattributed material, and potential copyright violations. The edits made by the sockpuppets are similar enough that the community believes they were perpetrated by one coordinated group.
The editors would identify draft articles that had been edited but not approved, and would contact the subject of the article (usually a business or music act) and offer to get it approved for a fee—and then keep them from being vandalized or deleted for about $30 a month.
This sort of thing was bound to happen around any site as public as Wikipedia. It will probably happen again, too. At least it’s good that they’re keeping an eye out for it.