Govt slaps notice on Wikipedia after false information on Arshdeep Singh's page

Arshdeep Singh
Arshdeep Singh, second left, celebrates with teammates after dismissing Pakistan's Asif Ali. File photo: Karim Sahib/AFP

New Delhi: The government has slapped a notice on Wikipedia after a Khalistani slur appeared on the information page of cricketer Arshdeep Singh, a senior IT Ministry source said.

Arshdeep faced vitriolic attacks on social media by some users after he dropped a crucial catch in a thrilling Super 4 Asia Cup clash between India and Pakistan in Dubai on Sunday.

After the missed catch, information on his Wikipedia page was changed to link him to the separatist Khalistani movement.

The Central Government on Monday slammed Wikipedia over the publishing of false information on Arshdeep's page that linked him to the separatist Khalistani movement and made it clear that such incitement cannot be permitted.

Minister of State for IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar took to Twitter to slam such a move.

"No intermediary operating in India can permit this type of misinformation (a)n(d) deliberate efforts to incitement (a)n(d) user harm - violates our govts expectations of safe and trusted internet," he said.

Meanwhile, a senior IT Ministry official said that a notice was sent to Wikipedia around the afternoon for the removal of the false content.


Another official said that after the issue came to light, the government took a serious view of the matter and summoning of executives was considered.

Wikimedia Foundation, which operates Wikipedia, in response to an email query said that the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has informed it about the false information on the Wikipedia page of the cricketer, and wrongful edits were removed within minutes.

"The Wikimedia Foundation has been made aware by the Indian Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology of the vandalism that took place on the Wikipedia page of Indian cricketer, Arshdeep Singh.

"The Wikipedia page of the cricketer was vandalized with false claims on September 4, however, the wrongful edits were removed within minutes by Wikipedia's volunteer community. Right now, the article on English Wikipedia is semi-protected (which allows edits by only trusted users) to restrict further vandalism on the page," the foundation said.

According to the edit history of the cricketer's Wikipedia page, an unregistered user replaced the words "India" with "Khalistan" at several places on the profile and his name was changed to "Major Arshdeep Singh Bajwa". But the changes were reversed within 15 minutes by Wikipedia editors.

The slanderous linking of him to the Khalistani movement was said to have been done by elements in Pakistan.

Big social media firms have drawn flak in the past over hate speech, misinformation and fake news circulating on their platforms.

Wikimedia said that Wikipedia is a volunteer-led platform and Wikimedia Foundation generally does not set editorial policy on Wikipedia.

"Editorial policy is instead determined by the global volunteers who edit Wikipedia every month. Information found on Wikipedia must be sourced and cited from a reliable news or other secondary sources of information.

"Vandalism does occur on Wikipedia from time to time, as can occur in any open, online platform. It is a violation of the trust and good faith of our editors and readers, and runs contrary to the values on which Wikipedia is based," the foundation said.

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