The English version of Wikipedia has seen a purge of at least 381 users by moderator editors after it was revealed that those accounts were being paid by companies to edit relevant articles in a positive light.
The editors also deleted 210 articles created by the blocked accounts, which were generally promotional in nature and were related to businesses, people in business or artists. The Wikimedia Foundation that runs Wikipedia, said in a blog post on Monday that all of the articles had biased information, unattributed material and potential copyright violations.
The company has struggled against so called "sockpuppet" accounts over the years, where companies pay volunteers to edit their respective pages; in 2013 for example, the Wikimedia Foundation found that a large U.S. consulting company had created, edited, or maintained thousands of Wikipedia articles for paying clients. The firm had used concealed user accounts, Wikimedia said.
The 381 accounts now blocked by Wikipedia's volunteer editors were charged with "undisclosed paid advocacy"; furthermore, editors are now required to disclose their employer, client or any affiliation from which they receive a compensation.