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Wikimedia blocked seven Chinese users

The non-profit organization Wikimedia Foundation that is behind Wikipedia, reported that it has blocked seven Chinese users due to a “security threat.”

Another 12 users were deprived of the once high privileges.

After a lengthy and thorough investigation into the activities of some members of the unrecognized group of Wikimedians of Mainland China, we have blocked seven users and removed sysop rights from 12 more people.Wikimedia Foundation Vice President Maggie Dennis wrote in a letter sent to Wikimedia contributors earlier this week.

The group, which Dennis writes about, has over 280 members and was created in 2017. On the official page of the project, it is reported that its main goal is to help new users who want to learn how to use and edit Wikipedia, as well as to promote the portal within China, where the site was blocked back in 2019.

Dennis stated that the group could be infiltrated by people who pose a security threat to the organization and its users:

The risk is associated with information about possible infiltration into Wikimedia systems, including positions with access to personal information and elected bodies of influence. We have immediately restricted access to these tools in the respective jurisdictions and are working with affected users to determine if they are at risk.

At the same time, it is emphasized that not all users who were ultimately restricted from access posed a security threat. These people themselves could be in danger and could be subjected to “exploitation and harm from outside groups, since they were already trusted insiders” within the Wikimedia project.

The report emphasizes that the investigation was carried out by the same anti-disinformation team that banned the Croatian Wikipedia administrator in June this year for promoting radical right-wing views, which he disseminated through misleading and inaccurate edits.

According to the Free Press Hong Kong, at least one member of the Wikimedians of Mainland China has advocated reporting Hong Kong Wikipedia users to the Chinese police, and other members of the group have been involved in campaigning for administrative positions on China’s Wikimedia section.

A complete list of blocked users, dated September 13, is available here.

Let me remind you that we also talked about the fact that “The Great Chinese Firewall” blocks 311,000 domains, and 41,000 of them – by mistake.

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Daniel Zimmermann

Daniel Zimmermann has been writing on security and malware subjects for many years and has been working in the security industry for over 10 years. Daniel was educated at the Saarland University in Saarbrücken, Germany and currently lives in New York.

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