Facebook, Axios And NBC Paid This Guy To Whitewash Wikipedia Pages
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of Huffington Post
Posted: March 25th, 2019
The vast majority of the people who propose and make changes to Wikipedia are volunteers. A few people, however, have figured out how to manipulate Wikipedias supposedly neutral system to turn a profit. Thats [paid Wikipedia editor Ed] Sussmans business. And in just the past few years, companies including Axios, NBC, Nextdoor and Facebooks PR firm have all paid him to manipulate public perception using a tool most people would never think to check. One of Wikipedias more well-known rules is its prohibition on editing pages that you have any sort of direct connection to. But ... anyone, even someone financially tied to the subject in question, is allowed to merely suggest edits in the hopes that a less conflicted editor might come by, agree, and implement the changes for them. This is where a paid editor like Sussman comes in. On his website, Sussman identifies himself as a journalist, lawyer, academic and technology entrepreneur who is often called upon in crisis management situations where inaccurate or misleading information has been placed in a Wikipedia article. Sussmans main strategy for convincing editors to make the changes his clients want is to cite as many tangentially related rules as possible (he is, after all, a lawyer). He often replies to nearly every single bit of pushback with walls of text arguing his case. Trying to get through even a fraction of it is exhausting, and because Wikipedia editors are unpaid, theres little motivation to continue dealing with Sussmans arguments. So he usually gets his way.