CIA, Wal-Mart, Fox News Purge Wiki Entries

Hacker reveals vanity changes to online encyclopedia articles
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 14, 2007 1:33 PM CDT
CIA, Wal-Mart, Fox News Purge Wiki Entries
Virgil Griffith, hacker and CalTech computation and neural-systems graduate student, and now inventor of the Wikipedia Scanner, a process by which heavily-biased edits might be identified and traced.   (Public Domain)

A new data-mining tool has tracked the identities of the anonymous users who make edits to Wikipedia entries—and revealed that Wal-Mart, voting-machine magnate Diebold, and even Fox News have tried to bowdlerize or spin their appearances in the online encyclopedia. And they're not the only ones, Wired reports.

The program's creator, a California grad student, was inspired by reports last year that congresspeople were flushing out their entries; he downloaded all 5.3M edits and matched up their IP addresses—a permanent digital footprint—with their sources. Some big-name organizations appear to have made somewhat innocuous changes: CIA employees altered details in an entry about Buffy the Vampire Slayer. (More Wikipedia stories.)

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