Vivek Ramaswamy, an entrepreneur vying to be the Republican candidate for president in 2024, allegedly paid to change the Wikipedia page about him, according to a disclosure made on the community encyclopedia. The changes include scrubbing the fact that Ramaswamy received the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans in 2011 and Ramaswamy’s role in the Ohio Covid-19 Response Team.
Anyone can make changes to Wikipedia articles, but it’s against the rules for anyone to edit an article about themselves. It’s within the rules to pay someone else to make changes on Wikipedia articles as long as those payments are disclosed.
The changes to the Wikipedia page, first reported by Mediaite, were made by a user named Jhofferman, who provided the disclosure on Wikipedia.
The Wikipedia editor has also taken payments from Laura Ruth Walker, the president of Bennington College, and BCN3D Technologies, a 3D printing company. Neither Walker nor BCN3D have any known connections to Ramaswamy and this particular user appears to just be someone who takes paid Wikipedia editing gigs.
Why would Ramaswamy want something like his Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans scrubbed from Wikipedia? The late Paul Soros is the brother of George Soros, a Democratic megadonor who is often held up as an evil puppetmaster by far-right figures. Notably, Ramaswamy announced his candidacy for president on the show of Tucker Carlson before the host was recently booted from Fox News. Carlson often railed against Soros on his top-rated show.
Ramaswamy’s participation in the Ohio Covid-19 Response Team was also removed by the paid editor, though it’s not entirely clear why. As Mediaite notes, there’s no evidence that Ramaswamy advocated for draconian lockdowns, but some Republicans believe anything to do with the response to the pandemic is political poison, which might explain why former President Donald Trump rarely talks about it. The Wikipedia notes for Ramaswamy mention deleting the Covid-19 Response Team was “at subject’s request.”
Ramaswamy’s Wikipedia page is currently flagged as being in dispute for not having a neutral point of view. It’s unclear if the paid contributions are what got Ramaswamy’s page flagged. Wikipedia editors have started to debate whether Ramaswamy’s page should be placed into a protective status in order to minimize alterations made. Wikipedia pages are sometimes locked down so that only trusted editors can make changes when there’s heavy manipulation that’s identified.
Ramaswamy is polling at just 1.5% among Republicans and some have accused him of being a distraction to ensure Trump is the nominee. Ramaswamy’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday. I’ll update this post if I hear back.