Wikipedia owner denies Saudi infiltration claim

Wikipedia owner denies Saudi infiltration claim
# 07 January 2023 19:50 (UTC +04:00)

Wikipedia's parent company has denied claims the Saudi government infiltrated its team in the Middle East, APA reports citing BBC.

Two international human rights groups said Saudi officials had altered or deleted content on the website.

The claims came after Wikimedia carried out its own investigation and suspended 16 users for "conflict of interest" editing in the Middle East.

Wikimedia said "material inaccuracies" had been published but no evidence of Saudi infiltration was found.

Wikipedia relies on teams of volunteer administrators and editors for its content.

A statement by Smex and Democracy for the Arab World Now (Dawn) accused the Saudi government of using agents to act as independent editors on Wikipedia to "control information about the country".

Smex is based in Lebanon while Dawn is a US-based organisation founded by Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered in 2018 inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

The groups also alleged that two "high-ranking administrators in Saudi Arabia" were arrested in September 2020 and charged with "swaying public opinion" and "violating public morals". They were sentenced to five and eight years in prison, the groups said.