What You Read on Wikipedia is Often Written by the Subject Themselves, Wikipedia Scanner Reveals
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Many people rely on Wikipedia for a quick info lookup on the Internet – in fact many
consider Wikipedia an authoritative source, even citing it in editorial, journalistic, and even legal writings.

Now a new Wikipedia scanning program written by Virgil Griffith has revealed that organizations who have entries in Wikipedia are editing their entries themselves, removing unflattering facts and commentary in order to show themselves in a more flattering light. This of course means that relying on a Wikipedia entry for unbiased fact reporting on a subject can be like relying on a press release from the organization themselves.


It has always been the case that anybody can edit a Wikipedia entry. Some people know this, but rely on Wikipedia for authoritative information anyways. But the vast majority of people out there may not realize it, or else assume that there is some sort of error or truth checking that ensures the reliability of the data in the Wikipedia entries. Unfortunately, that’s not so.

Now Griffith’s Wikipedia Scanner has shed a bright light on that dark spot of Wikipedia, and some big name organizations are crawling out from under the rocks, and have been busted as self-dealing by editing their own entries.

The Wikipedia Scanner works by noting all IP addresses associated with editing of a particular entry, and then determing who controls those IP addresses. Often the edits are by the general public, but in some instances, the IP addresses are under the sole control of the organization which is themselves the subject of the entry.

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Diebold, makers of electronic voting machines, is perhaps the most egregious player in this Wikiscandal – at least that has been uncovered so far – as Griffith made public that they had edited the Wikipedia entry about Diebold to delete 15 paragraphs of information that was critical about their electronic voting systems. Electronic voting is a very hot topic right now, as the results from various states show that the systems are subject to error and gaming.

Diebold is by no means the only one guilty of polishing up their Wikipedia entries, however. Big names such as Walmart, Microsoft, and even the CIA have all edited their own entries, usually for the better.

In fact, Wikipedia Scanner users are actively encouraged to submit their own findings of organizational self-dealing (the Wikipedia Scanner – a simple web page interface – is free). So far users have turned up entries which have been self-edited by the likes of Pfizer, Raytheon, Exxon, the Rand Corporation and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

 

You can access and [Page no longer available – we have linked to the archive.org version instead].

And let us know what you find!

No Paywall Here!
The Internet Patrol is and always has been free. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to run the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep the Internet Patrol free?
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Other Amount:
What info did you find here today?:

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One thought on “What You Read on Wikipedia is Often Written by the Subject Themselves, Wikipedia Scanner Reveals
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  1. If I want to review a business I wouldn’t go to their web site. I would try to find a group, or other non-related entity and apply a little critical thinking. When a business or individual has access information about themselves, why would they not change it? In some cases they are probably justified. I’ve seen many entries at Wikipedia that I know are wrong, and limits the credibility of everything else.

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