Conservative Party Chairman “has Wikipedia account blocked” after investigation into “sock-puppetry”

Wikipedia has blocked a user account on suspicions that it is being used by the Conservative party chairman, Grant Shapps, “or someone acting on his behalf” to edit his own page along with the entries of Tory rivals and political opponents.

The online encylopedia, where pages are edited and created by readers, has tracked the changes made by a user called “Contribsx” who has systematically removed embarrassing references on Shapps’ Wikipedia page about the Tory chairman’s business activities as Michael Green, the self-styled millionaire web marketer.

A Guardian investigation found about a third of the contributions made by this user were to Shapps’ own Wikipedia entry while the rest are made up largely of unflattering changes to the online pages to senior political figures – including prominent figures in the Tory party such as Philip Hammond, Justine Greening and Lynton Crosby.

Wikipedia says that “sock-puppetry” – creating a fake online identity “for an improper purpose, such as to mislead other editors, disrupt discussions, distort consensus or avoid sanctions” – is not permitted.

It added that it had banned Contribsx and said any evidence of future attempts to cover the user’s tracks would be investigated immediately.

The site’s administrators, selected Wikipedia volunteers who patrol the site, told the Guardian that they “believe that the account Contribsx is a sockpuppet of Grant Shapps’ previous accounts on Wikipedia … and based on the evidence the account is either run by Shapps directly or being run by someone else – an assistant or a PR agency – but under his clear direction.” …..