Russian search engines will tag Wikipedia as spreading ‘war fakes’

Russian search engines will be required to notify Wikipedia users that the online encyclopedia is spreading ‘fake news’ about the country’s invasion of Ukraine, state communications regulator Rozkomnadoz has said. . said Wednesday.

Roskomnadzor in May demanded that Wikipedia remove “unreliable information” about what Moscow calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine, which is entering its fifth month.

“Due to the inability of the American non-profit organization Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. to remove illegal information, Roskomnadzor has decided to apply a coercive measure to Internet search engines informing [users] that the foreign entity violates Russian law,” he said in a statement.

Russian League for Safe Internet in favor of the Kremlin said this week it uncovered 16.6 million posts spreading “fakes” about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on platforms such as Wikipedia.

“It happens on YouTube, Twitch, TikTok and Wikipedia,” said association leader Yekaterina Mizulina, daughter of prominent Russian conservative senator Yelena Mizulina.

“Children come in to watch innocuous videos and they are greeted with a barrage of videos of violence and cruelty, fakes about the special operation, outright lies about our country,” Yekaterina Mizulina said. “This type of content is dangerous for the psyche of children.”

Russian officials have long sought to develop a national alternative to Wikipedia over what they see as the online encyclopedia’s bias.

Concerns that Russia could block Wikipedia have grown amid the country’s unprecedented crackdown on dissent to its invasion of Ukraine.

The nonprofit Wikimedia Foundation has been fined a total of 5 million rubles ($91,000) by Russia since the invasion began on February 24.

Wikipedia remains accessible in Russia 10 years after being added to a government register of banned websites.

Rosemary S. Bishop