the deep dirty secrets of wikipedia August 17, 2007Posted by KG in news, politics, tech.
wired article about a caltech grad student who developed a database that can be used to show where edits to pages come from and what exactly was edited. i’m sure the weeks and months to come will provide us with much to laugh and/or be disturbed at/by.
On November 17th, 2005, an anonymous Wikipedia user deleted 15 paragraphs from an article on e-voting machine-vendor Diebold, excising an entire section critical of the company’s machines. While anonymous, such changes typically leave behind digital fingerprints offering hints about the contributor, such as the location of the computer used to make the edits.
In this case, the changes came from an IP address reserved for the corporate offices of Diebold itself. And it is far from an isolated case. A new data-mining service launched Monday traces millions of Wikipedia entries to their corporate sources, and for the first time puts comprehensive data behind longstanding suspicions of manipulation, which until now have surfaced only piecemeal in investigations of specific allegations.
Wikipedia Scanner — the brainchild of Cal Tech computation and neural-systems graduate student Virgil Griffith — offers users a searchable database that ties millions of anonymous Wikipedia edits to organizations where those edits apparently originated, by cross-referencing the edits with data on who owns the associated block of internet IP addresses.
The result: A database of 34.4 million edits, performed by 2.6 million organizations or individuals ranging from the CIA to Microsoft to Congressional offices, now linked to the edits they or someone at their organization’s net address has made.
excerpts from wired’s list of “salacious edits”:
Somebody at the National Rifle Association wants us to think that Iraq was involved in the planning and/or execution of 9/11. They’ve got proof!
They don’t seem to like their University’s racist past, Mormons, or that “Evolution Biology” isn’t science. http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?diff=prev&oldid=927131 http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?diff=prev&oldid=24152198 http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?diff=prev&oldid=24159479 http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?diff=prev&oldid=49738286 http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?diff=prev&oldid=71404872 “What Mormons?” http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?diff=prev&oldid=33035493
You can’t help but laugh at this one.
A thorough accounting of the impact to a number of species affected by the Exxon-Valdez spill is replaced by an ExxonMobil employee, stating instead:
“Peer-reveiwed studies … have confirmed that there has been no long-term severe impact to the Prince William Sound ecosystem. Thousands of species … were never affected by the spill in the first place… six of the largest salmon harvests in history were recorded in the decade immediately following the spill.”
Someone at Monsanto reminds readers Michael Moore lost a lawsuit over his film “Roger & Me”