Misinformation has become the curse of the modern age. It becomes difficult to spot fake news and misinformation in passing, as the most rational platforms can even post misleading news. A similar scam was spotted on Wikipedia by a Chinese author regarding Russian medieval history. Zhemao is a Chinese national and housewife who wrote this false information on Wikipedia.
Chinese Wikipedia has a large collection of in-depth and reliable articles on medieval Russia. According to Vice World News, Zhemao has written 206 articles for the website since 2019, the longest of which is almost as long as The Great Gatsby. It included a map of the nation at the time and depicted the Tartar uprisings in the 17th century. The poster included rare images of ancient Russian coins. The blogs she provided were so well written and well liked, it was quite difficult to find out that she had perpetrated one of the biggest frauds ever seen on the platform,
A Chinese Housewife Spent Years Writing Fake Russian Medieval Stories On Wikipedia
The scam was revealed by Chinese author Yifan in an article on a website similar to Quora. While researching for a new book, Yifan came across one of his articles which described a silver mine that was a source of wealth for Russia in the 14th and 15th centuries. According to reports, the document was so comprehensive that it contained details of soil composition, mine layout, and silver refining procedures. However, Yifan discovered that the pages or versions of the books cited by Zhemao did not even exist when she attempted to verify her sources with Russian speakers.
In response, a team of volunteer editors scanned his work and discovered that his quotes were not accurate. Zhemao confessed that she also fabricated details in a post on her profile. She admitted that she does not reside in Russia and that her husband is Chinese and not Russian. She also does not have the doctorate in world history that she claimed to have obtained at Moscow State University; instead, she is a housewife with a high school diploma. According to Vice’s analysis of her position, she expressed frustration with her inability to type documents written in English and Russian. It seems she used web translators to understand online articles before using her imagination to fill in the blanks.
It’s unclear why she didn’t just create a book set in medieval Russia, which likely would have been popular given that Yifan and her other editors praised her contributions for being informative and well-written. She may have to look for a new platform for her work, as Zhemao and her sock puppets have been permanently banned from the website.
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