Tuesday, February 16, 2010


The following clip from Fox News was posted on YouTube. The news comments on the fact that anyone can write and edit Wikipedia entries. In response, the news anchor describes a search tool called WikiScanner that can trace the computers that were used to edit the entries.

While Wikipedia is often criticized for its open editing and thus some unreliable information, big companies have been taking advantage of such freedom. Corporations such as Walmart and Phizer were mentioned in the clip to have been traced for editing their articles on Wikipedia. Wikipedia founder, Jimmy Whales, comments that edits from such large corporations are usually done by “some employee at work who’s sort of overzealously defending the organization.” But surprisingly, computers from the FBI, the UN, the Vatican, and even Fox News itself have also been traced by WikiScanner. It makes you wonder what’s worse; an individual editing Tony Blair’s middle name on Wikipedia to Whoopdy-doo? Or big name corporations and government establishments editing, and essentially manipulating, Wikipedia articles to reveal some sort of bias or to gain favor?

1 comment:

  1. The process of commercial and political organizations generating phony grassroots movements and messages is called astroturfing, and is almost always discovered, leading so great loss of credibility. It's quite interesting how Wikipedia has become a major battleground for this sort of thing. I resized the video, by the way, thanks for sharing it.