Emails Show Hunter Biden Hired Specialists to Quietly Airbrush Wikipedia
Hunter Biden, like many powerful individuals and corporations, hired special consultants to edit Wikipedia without any fingerprints.
Powerful individuals and corporations routinely tap specialized consultants to edit Wikipedia for more favorable entries, often through anonymous accounts designed to appear organic.
Emails from Hunter Biden’s laptop show that he made continuous efforts to airbrush his image and the Wikipedia articles associated with his Ukrainian benefactors.
The outreach by high-priced consultants making stealth edits to Wikipedia, for a period, paid off.
In 2014, working at the time with FTI Consulting, a major public relations and lobbying firm, Hunter sought changes to his personal Wikipedia entry.
“Ryan- below is a start. Eric is my partner and cc'd- he's going to make additional edits,” wrote Hunter to FTI’s Ryan Toohey in May 2014, referring him to Eric Schwerin, the president of Hunter’s firm Rosemont Seneca. Hunter forwarded along edits seeking the deletion of unflattering lines in his Wikipedia biography, such as his ties to disgraced Ponzi scheme financier Allen Stanford.
Toohey, emails from Hunter’s laptop show, confirmed that his company would get to work.
Wikipedia maintains a semi-transparent system to show the edit history of any article on the website. The history shows that shortly after Hunter’s request, several anonymous Wikipedia accounts began a series of edits to his page, adding changes requested by Hunter and deleting embarrassing lines.
Hunter, the emails show, sought to delete a line explaining that the National Endowment for Democracy, which he previously worked with, had ties to the CIA. He also pushed to include more official titles from his various NGO board memberships.
On May 28, 2014, an account called "AmeliaChevalier" edited Hunter’s Wikipedia to delete any reference to "disgraced financier Allen Stanford." Over the next few weeks, more anonymous Wikipedia accounts began rapidly editing Hunter’s page, records show. Archives of Wikipedia show that a month after engaging with FTI, Hunter's Wikipedia page had dramatically changed, with negative references scrubbed, and lengthy passages added to discuss his volunteer work, service in government, and appointments to various boards and political committees.
"This is back in good shape," Toohey wrote to Hunter and Schwerin, dropping a link to the Wikipedia page. "We'll be keeping an eye on it for changes."
Toohey, now a partner at the law-lobbying firm Dentons Global Advisors, did not respond to a request for comment.
One of the more prolific and anonymous Wikipedia accounts making edits to Hunter’s page was a user called “Earflaps,” which made a number of edits, including the deletion of criticism of Hunter’s work for Burisma, the Ukrainian energy firm. That account was later identified as a “sock puppet,” a term of art used for the illicit pay-for-play editing by fake accounts, to airbrush negative information off of Wikipedia. An investigation found that Earflaps was one of nearly a dozen fake accounts tied to PR firms hired to carefully manage the image of Russian businessmen.