Carl Niehaus called an 'embarrassment to the human race'

MKMVA spokesperson to lay formal complaint with Wikipedia

Carl Niehaus Wikipedia page edited to call him an 'embarrassment to the human race'

13 December 2017

Johannesburg – The Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans' Association's Carl Niehaus says he will lay a formal complaint with online encyclopaedia Wikipedia after his page was edited to describe him a "massive p*** and an embarrassment to the human race".

Speaking to News24 in a telephonic interview on Wednesday, Niehaus said: "Wikipedia is obviously not doing their editing because, to have a phrase like that at the end, I don’t even want to use the words, cannot be acceptable to Wikipedia and to anyone else."

He said the comments were unacceptable.

The edits on Wikipedia were made at 06:34 on Wednesday. Previous edits which were made on Sunday, December 10 referred to him as a "wanker".

According to a report in the latest Sunday Times, he had allegedly "killed off" his very much alive mother in an apparent inheritance hoax to avoid paying a large sum of money that he owed.

He refused to comment on the report at the time.

On Wednesday, Niehaus said Wikipedia could "not escape" the mess that had been on his page.

"In any democratic society, people can disagree and criticise me but it has to be reasonable."

Niehaus, who had initially not been aware of what was written about him on the online encyclopedia, said that to "abuse platforms such as Wikipedia is entirely unacceptable".

He said Wikipedia should not allow such words and descriptions to be added without an editing process.

Anonymous volunteers

Wikipedia uses an open model that relies on mostly anonymous volunteers to edit and update content.

According to its "about" page, the community is largely self-organising and approves editors and administrators, who are aided by software-assisted systems and automated programmes for problematic edits.

Anyone can report and correct intentional vandalism.

"I have been elected a couple of months ago to the national executive of the Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans' Association.

"I carry the responsibility and respect of my organisation and beyond that I think it is beneath me to respond to abuse like that being put on any website.

"All social media and internet institutions have vetting processes and Wikipedia should not be allowed to escape."