The core tenet of Wikipedia, the digital platform claiming to provide information to the world, is neutrality. But we all know it’s far from impartial and is often weaponized. When the world’s most powerful individuals and corporations can discreetly alter content to serve their interests, the democratic nature of the platform becomes questionable.
Recent revelations from a trove of emails from Hunter Biden’s laptop (stories about which were mass censored online) have shed light on a murky world of high-profile individuals resorting to stealthy techniques to manipulate the way they are perceived on Wikipedia. This expose dives into the clandestine operations behind these “image airbrushing” campaigns.
As reported by journalist Lee Fang, in 2014, Hunter Biden, actively working with FTI Consulting, a prominent public relations firm, sought to amend the content of his Wikipedia profile. The exchanges show a premeditated attempt to erase certain details, including Biden’s connections to the disgraced financier Allen Stanford.
It wasn’t just a singular push. Emails affirm the active engagement of FTI’s Ryan Toohey in this venture. Following Hunter’s request, Wikipedia’s edit logs display the emergence of anonymous accounts working assiduously to accommodate Hunter’s edits and remove potentially compromising information, the report states.
Among the significant changes, Hunter’s involvement with the National Endowment for Democracy and its alleged CIA connections were wiped clean. In contrast, his association with various NGOs received notable embellishment.
The accounts behind these changes were not just random volunteers. One, named “AmeliaChevalier,” actively expunged mentions of Allen Stanford. Another account, “Earflaps,” frequently edited out criticisms of Hunter’s association with Burisma, a Ukrainian energy giant. An investigation later revealed “Earflaps” to be one of several deceptive accounts associated with PR agencies hired primarily to manage the image of Russian business tycoons.
It wasn’t just Hunter; Burisma itself employed FTI Consulting to amplify its presence on Wikipedia. Vadim Pozharskyi, an advisor to Burisma, even categorized Wikipedia management as a vital “PR issue.”
Read the full report on Lee Fan’s Substack here….