Washington: An investigation has revealed that Wikipedia has become a home base for a worldwide network of paedophiles.
According to the investigation, paedophiles are campaigning on the famous online encyclopaedia and are trying to lure more and more people.
Chat room posts on Wikipedia are used by pedophiles to further their agenda.
Message board posts often include links to specific Wikipedia articles that the participants say need to be edited to "normalize" paedophile behavior in the public eye and to recruit more paedophiles into their community.
"Paedophiles have campaigned to push their point of view that ''pedophilia is OK and doesn’t hurt children'' on Wikipedia. This has been a problem since Wikipedia started," Fox News quoted Xavier Von Erck, director of Perverted Justice Foundation and Wikisposure.com, as saying.
However, Sue Gardner, executive director of Wikimedia Foundation, Wikipedia's parent organization, said in a statement: "Wikipedia has a long-held, zero-tolerance policy towards paedophilia or paedophilia advocacy and child pornography. The Wikimedia community is vigilant about identifying and deleting any such material. Any allegations to the contrary are outrageous and false."
The article on paedophilia on the website, in its suggestions for further reading, suggests other Wikipedia pages edited by pedophiles, including "Child Sexuality," and "NAMBLA," a page about the North American Man/Boy Love Association. That page links directly to NAMBLA's website, as do 25 other Wikipedia pages.
Wikipedia also has 32 external links to GirlChat, 14 to a Danish pro-pedophile website and 12 to BoyChat.
These Wikipedia articles, edited and shared by pedophiles, are nothing but guideposts to get them aroused, said Hemanshu Nigam, who headed security divisions at Microsoft and MySpace and now runs SSP Blue, an online security consulting firm.
Von Erck, who uses a pseudonym, said a number of pedophiles have been kicked off the site, but many of them have returned using different usernames.
"The problem with it is you need to have a committed effort to deal with committed people who are devoted to pushing their propaganda online like pedophiles," he said.
But Nigam, who is co-chairman of President Obama’s Online Safety Technology Group and sits on the board of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, said it’s not that complicated.
"Almost every other social networking site has taken steps to clean up their sites, except for Wikipedia," he said.
Nigam said Wikipedia is not doing its responsibility by hosting an online haven for pedophiles.
"It’s nothing more than a company that is choosing to ignore the worst kind of exploitation in the world," he said.
First Published: Sunday, June 27, 2010, 16:08