Wikipedia has banned a prolific anti-China editor accusing them of coordinating activity through multiple accounts in relation to pushing the “Wuhan laboratory leak” conspiracy theory. The user in question, who goes by the name “ScrupulousScribe” was blocked in late March having been found of “abusing multiple accounts” on China related covid-19 articles, claiming that the associated users titled “TacticalTweaker” and “WanderingEskimo” were not direct sockpuppets of his own but in fact “real life friends”.
ScrupulousScribe, who appeared on Wikipedia in late 2020 , described himself with “I write about current events, public health, and biology related issues.” and proceeded to make virtually no edits but a full time advocacy of the Wuhan Laboratory conspiracy theory, which alleges the covid-19 originated in a leak from the Wuhan institute of virology, a debunked theory which was aggressively pushed by the Trump administration, Mike Pompeo, Matthew Pottinger and by his media proxies including Josh Rogin. Over the course of three months, he made over 1000 edits to those associated pages.
The editor was obsessed with pushing a narrative of complete political culpability and most prominently over the course of four months edited the Wuhan Institute of Virology article. The militant advocacy of this theory attracted the attention of wikipedia administrators by January, one of whom stated he: “has done almost nothing since their account creation in December except to push for the inclusion and crediblilty of the “Lab leak” origin” relying on sources such as “newspaper op-eds”. The user also sought to place emphasis on other Chinese laboratory accidents. He also created an article titled “COVID-19 misinformation by China” of which the neutrality is disputed.
As the editor’s behaviour drew scrutiny, administrators noted that there were a number of other accounts coordinating with him on the same topics pushing the same theory, including harassing people who disagreed with his edits. One of the accused associated accounts “TacticalTweaker” (a single purpose account), of whom he claimed to be “his real life friend” who “lives near each other” as opposed to a sockpuppet posted documents from the US state department to justify his position arguing that it was “the most important source” as they funded the Wuhan institute of virology.
Whilst of course this was dealt with, the incident nonetheless only scratches the surface regarding concerns that Wikipedia is manipulatable to coordinated, agenda advocacy editing by certain individuals and groups. ScrupulousScribe is just one of many anti-China focused editors who have aggressively peddled articles and content which conforms completely to US government talking points, painting related topics in the most negative or dubious light possible.