“The days of Wikipedia’s robust commitment to neutrality are long gone,” co-founder Larry Sanger said.
Big tech has faced repeated accusations of bias and censorship, but one platform has escaped much scrutiny: Wikipedia.
But critics – including Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger – tell Fox News that many Wikipedia pages have become merely left-wing advocacy essays.
The days of Wikipedia’s robust commitment to neutrality are long gone,” co-founder Larry Sanger said.
“Wikipedia’s ideological and religious bias is real and troubling, particularly in a resource that continues to be treated by many as an unbiased reference work,” he added.
Wikipedia pages related to socialism and communism contain stark examples.
The two main pages for “Socialism” and “Communism” span a massive 28,000 words, and yet they contain no discussion of the genocides committed by socialist and communist regimes, in which tens of millions of people were murdered and starved.
“The omission of large-scale mass murder, slave labor, and man-made famines is negligent and deeply misleading,” economics professor Bryan Caplan, who has studied the history of communism, told Fox News.
The pages include plenty of history, Caplan noted, and are not confined to just philosophical claims. But the history focuses on flattering claims.
Wikipedia’s Socialism page announces: “The Soviet era saw some of the most significant technological achievements of the 20th century.”
It ignores a man-made famine in which Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin commandeered the food from regions like Ukraine and Kazakhstan, leaving millions to starve to death even as the Soviet Union exported grain to foreign countries.
Asked for comment, a Wikimedia Foundation spokesperson sent a statement noting that “Wikipedia is a living, breathing project, and is always evolving just as our shared understanding of a topic does.” The response also noted that the foundation does not directly control content on Wikipedia, which is written by volunteer editors. The statement did not address any specific criticisms of the content.
The Wikipedia socialism page also mentions China’s Communist history, but only begins its description in 1976, after Mao Zedong’s reign of terror had already killed tens of millions.
“After Mao Zedong‘s death in 1976… China’s economic performance pulled an estimated 150 million peasants out of poverty,” the encyclopedia says.
The article fails to mention Mao’s prior communist programs such as his “Great Leap Forward”, in which private farming was abolished, leading to mass famine that killed tens of millions.
It also neglects to mention Mao’s “Cultural Revolution”, in which, according to the History Channel, “Millions of young radicals who formed the paramilitary Red Guards shut down schools, destroyed religious and cultural relics and killed intellectuals and party elites believed to be anti-revolutionaries.”
One prolific Wikipedia editor, Jonathan Weiss, told Fox News that “bias on Wikipedia somewhat reflects the bias in academia and journalism. It’s easier to find an open Marxist rather than a center-right conservative,” he said.
Weiss mentioned one Wikipedia “administrator” as an example. Administrators are a select group of people who make final calls about what goes on pages. One has a photo of Soviet dictator Vladimir Lenin on their profile paired with a Lenin quote about how even “The most democratic bourgeois republics” are “organs of class oppression.”
Weiss is in the top 100 Wikipedia editors by contributions, having made more than 415,142 edits on the site since 2006, mostly on sports-related pages.
But he said that the political pages have largely been taken over by editors with a political axe to grind.