Orangemoody editing of Wikipedia
On August 31, 2015, the English Wikipedia community discovered 381 sockpuppet accounts operating a secret paid editing ring. Participants in the ring extorted money from mid-sized businesses who had articles about themselves rejected. Nicknamed "Orangemoody" after the first account uncovered, it was Wikipedia's biggest conflict-of-interest scandal at the time, exceeding the scope of the Wiki-PR editing of Wikipedia incident in which approximately 250 sockpuppets were found and blocked in 2013.
The story was reported by hundreds of English language and non-English language news sources, including Komsomolskaya Pravda, Le Temps, Le Monde and Die Zeit. The editing was described by various media as "black hat" editors (TechCrunch), "dishonest editing" (PC World), "extortion" (Wired), a "blackmail scam" (The Independent), and an "extensive cybercrime syndicate" (ThinkProgress).
In 2015, administrators of the English Wikipedia blocked 381 accounts, many of them suspected of being sockpuppets of the same group of people, after a two-month investigation launched by Wikipedia editors. More than 200 Wikipedia articles created from the accounts were deleted.
Wikipedia's resulting investigation, named "Orangemoody" after the first account uncovered, found that sockpuppets had searched the site for deleted or rejected articles about businesses and individuals. Many of the articles had been deleted because of excessive promotional content. The editors, some posing as Wikipedia administrators, would then extort payment from the businesses to publish and protect the articles. Besides businesses, individuals were targeted, including Cuban musician Dayramir Gonzalez. The scammers themselves may have been involved in the deletion of some articles.
- "Wikipedia's biggest scandal: Industrial-scale blackmail", The Register, September 3, 2015
- "Victime de fraude et d'extorsion, Wikipédia ferme 381 comptes de faux contributeurs". Le Temps (in French). Switzerland. 2015-09-01. Retrieved 2015-09-06.
- Саша ПЯТНИЦКАЯ (Sasha Pyatnitskaya) (September 1, 2015), "Англоязычная Wikipedia заблокировала более 380 редакторов за "корыстные" правки" [The English Wikipedia has blocked more than 380 editors for "selfish" edits], Komsomolskaya Pravda (in Russian)
- "381 comptes de Wikipédia bannis pour extorsion", Le Monde (in French), Paris, 2015-09-02, retrieved 2015-09-06
- "Wikipedia: Schutzgelderpressung in der Online-Enzyklopädie" [Wikipedia: protection racket in the online encyclopedia], Zeit Online (in German), Die Zeit, 2015-09-01, retrieved 2015-09-06
- Perez, Sarah (2015-09-01), "Wikipedia Bans Hundreds Of "Black Hat" Paid Editors Who Created Promotional Pages On Its Site", TechCrunch, retrieved 2015-09-06
- Ribeiro, John (2015-09-01), "Wikipedia bans 381 user accounts for dishonest editing", PC World, retrieved 2015-09-06
- Chiel, Ethan (2015-09-01). "Wikipedia editors just banned 381 accounts over a huge fraud and extortion scandal". Fusion TV. Retrieved 2015-09-06.
- Technology (2015-09-01), "381 Wikipedia "sockpuppet" accounts banned for paid promotion", Wired (UK), retrieved 2015-09-06
- Merrill, Jamie (2015-09-02), "Wikipedia 'rogue editors' have targeted hundreds of people in a blackmail scam", The Independent, archived from the original on 2015-09-14, retrieved 2017-09-07 – via WebCite
- Williams, Lauren C. (2015-09-04), "Wikipedia Editors Uncover Extortion Scam And Extensive Cybercrime Syndicate", ThinkProgress, archived from the original on 2016-07-26, retrieved 2015-09-06
- Pearson, Jordan (2015-09-01). "Hundreds of Wikipedia Accounts Got Banned for Secretly Promoting Brands". Vice. Retrieved 2015-09-06.
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- Moyer, Justin Wm (2015-09-02). "Wikipedia sting snares hundreds of accounts used for paid editing". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2015-09-09.
- Dredge, Stuart. "Wikipedia founder backs site's systems after extortion scam". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-09-09.
- King, Robin Levinson (2015-09-02). "Wikipedia bans users for not disclosing they got paid to edit articles". The Toronto Star. Retrieved 2015-09-10.
- Weaver, Matthew. "Wikipedia blocks editor accounts linked to extortion scam". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-09-09.
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- Erhart, Ed; Barbara, Juliet (2015-08-31). "Hundreds of "black hat" English Wikipedia accounts blocked following investigation". Wikimedia blog. Wikimedia Foundation. Retrieved 2015-09-06.