Tracking Wikipedia’s Manipulations

wiki2.jpgIn 2006, we learned that staff members on Capitol Hill logged into Wikipedia and gave a partisan air-brushing to the biographies of various Congressmen and Senators. Meanwhile, in 2005, 15 paragraphs were mysteriously deleted from a Wikipedia entry on Diebold, the major American voting machine vendor that has found itself at the center of recent election controversies. And soon enough, these edits were traced back to a Diebold IP address.

All of this raised the question: Just how often is Wikipedia the victim of biased editing? And to what extent can corporate and political entries be trusted? According to Wired, some of these questions may be soon put to rest. A new web site called Wikipedia Scanner provides a “searchable database that ties millions of anonymous Wikipedia edits to organizations where those edits apparently originated…” Much more easily, users can now get a bead on just how prevalent these spin jobs are, and, more importantly, they can help keep these partisan edits under better control. Will Wikipedia Scanner (and program like it) help save Web 2.0? Perhaps so.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.