wiki weasels

Posted on September 25, 2011
Filed Under computing | 1 Comment


We all agree here at the likeithateit team that wikipedia is a wonderful resource. Principally because it is community moderated.  Yet the same thing that makes it such an outstanding beacon of all that is good in the world also makes it vulnerable to evil doers.  Unsurprisingly, there are people and corporations in the world who use wikipedia to push their own version of the truth, one in which uncomfortable facts do not exist. Fortunately bright young star of the internets, Caltech graduate student Virgil Griffith has created an unofficial Wikipedia search tool, that allows people to see when a wiki entry is being edited by numerous computers from the same organisation. Since such circumstances are almost always the result of whitewashing.  In response Wired Magazine instituted a competition for its readers to use the software and find the most egregious and outrageous examples of the practice….

Readers used Griffith’s clever WikiScanner to check the anonymous edits made from internet space assigned to a specific company or government agency. They then submitted the damning finds to aReddit-powered voting widget for others to verify and vote up or down.

Some of the top whitewashes spotted by you citizen journalists?

Dow Chemical removing an entire section that included discussion of the Bhopal disaster, silicon breast implant problems and Agent Orange, for one.

Controversial voting machine maker Diebold deleted criticism of its electronic voting machines, while someone inside the Turkish government removed a reference to the Armenian genocide. Then there was the anonymous Exxon employee decided to make the Valdez oil spill disaster entry less damning — and the FBI employee who took down an aerial photo of the Guantanamo Bay prison camp.

Of course, you readers should have gotten the award for finding, submitting and rating the spin jobs — a really fine bit of citizen journalism that we are proud to have a small part in sparking.

But being privacy-respecting folks, we don’t know who you are and will just have to accept the award on your behalf.


One Response to “wiki weasels”

  1. carlos on July 30th, 2014 9:50 pm

    skulled@abolitionist.patrolled” rel=”nofollow”>.…


Leave a Reply