Lawrence Mark Sanger, co-founder of Wikipedia, accused US intelligence agencies of manipulating the online encyclopedia for nearly two decades.
In an interview with Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald, Sanger claimed that Wikipedia had been hijacked by the US establishment, including the CIA and FBI, and used as a tool of control.
Sanger’s allegations are not baseless. He presented evidence suggesting that as early as 2008, computers belonging to the CIA and FBI were used to edit Wikipedia content. This raises the question – did they ever stop?
The implications of these claims are far-reaching, shedding light on the alleged infiltration of Wikipedia by intelligence agencies and a perceived ideological shift on the platform.
Wikipedia Co-Founder Lawrence Sanger: Site Has Been Hijacked by U.S Government for ‘Info Warfare’https://t.co/kY2HgGJPlj
— Ryan Fournier (@RyanAFournier) September 5, 2023
Over the years, Sanger observed a gradual change in Wikipedia’s content.
From 2006 to 2008, articles related to controversial topics in science, such as global warming and certain drugs, began to exhibit what he described as an “over-the-top bias.”
This bias became more pronounced between 2010 and 2015, particularly in articles on Eastern and holistic medicine, which seemed to favor Western ideas.
The perceived bias on Wikipedia intensified during the Trump administration. Sanger claimed that no other encyclopedia had shown as much bias as Wikipedia.
Greenwald agreed, stating the liberal establishment narrative aimed at countering then-President Trump appeared to have influenced Wikipedia’s content.
Sanger also expressed concern about the abandonment of Wikipedia’s original neutrality policy. He claimed rank-and-file Wikipedians now took cues from liberal media outlets like CNN, MSNBC, and the New York Times.
A startling revelation was Wikipedia’s official declaration that 80 percent of major news sources on the right were unreliable.
"Wikipedia is the most biased encyclopedia in history, having been hijacked by U.S. intelligence, industry and the political establishment years ago."
— Lars Bern (@LarsBern2) September 2, 2023
These revelations align with findings from programming student Virgil Griffith, who published evidence of CIA and FBI activity on Wikipedia in 2007.
Griffith developed a program, Wikiscanner, that could trace the location of computers used to edit Wikipedia articles. The CIA and FBI were found to have edited numerous articles, removing incriminating information.
Sanger concluded that intelligence agencies either paid influential individuals to advance their agendas or developed their own personnel within the intelligence community to manipulate Wikipedia content to their advantage.
He believed Wikipedia became a target for weaponization between 2005 and 2015, with information warfare conducted online.
In light of these revelations, Sanger recommended other online encyclopedias such as Ballotpedia and Conservapedia as potential alternatives to Wikipedia. However, he also noted these do not rank well on Google.