October 4, 2023

fake articles.  A woman rewriting Russian history on Wikipedia.

fake articles. A woman rewriting Russian history on Wikipedia.

Upon closer examination, 200 articles on Wikipedia turned out to be fake.

stone key

A Chinese contributor to Wikipedia has written more than 200 articles on a fictional medieval history that went undiscovered for three years.

There are not many experts on medieval Russian history in China. The Wikipedia author took advantage of this. Over the course of three years, she authored nearly 200 detailed articles on the battles, uprisings, and military leaders of medieval Russia for the Chinese edition of the electronic encyclopedia. The only problem: the content was fake.

At first glance, the articles were very professional, with detailed references. In her profile, the writer, who went by the username Zhemao, described herself as the daughter of a Chinese diplomat based in Moscow and a doctorate in history from Moscow State University.

There was no huge mine

The pseudo-historian is doomed with an article about the silver mine in Kechin, like “Weiss”. mentioned. Nearly 40,000 slaves worked there in the 14th and 15th centuries and brought great fortune to the Grand Duchy of Tver, according to a Wikipedia article. But this mine never existed.

A novelist looking for inspiration for his next work on Wikipedia found the supposed astrologer intriguing and asked Russian friends for more information. Then they noticed that the sources Zhemao cited did not exist.

And so, little by little, Zhemao’s other articles were examined and revealed to be fake. As is usual on Wikipedia, they were intertwined and referred to each other. Zhemao created an entire fantasy world, as it is known from the fantasy or science fiction series.

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boredom cure

All entries she made are now deleted. Some articles have also been translated into other languages, causing the false story to find its way onto other Wikipedia sites as well.

Zhemao sorry for this matter today. In an apology letter, she wrote that she simply got bored of being a housewife. Her husband is usually out of the house and she has no friends. She promised not to do such “useless things” in the future.