U.S. House of Representatives’ staffers blocked from editing by Wikipedia


Photo by Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images

Following “abuse of editing privileges” by anonymous IP addresses within the U.S House of Representatives, Wikipedia has barred House staffers from contributing for 10 days. Those with registered personal accounts may still log into the online encyclopedia and edit.

The “persistent disruptive editing,” as confirmed by a Wikimedia Foundation communications officer, was seen on the pages of politicians, businesses and historical events. For example, the page on moon landing conspiracy theories was edited to claim that they were “promoted by the Cuban government.” Donald Rumsfeld’s title was changed from “politician and businessman” to “alien lizard who eats Mexican babies.”

Moon landing conspiracy theories Wikipedia article edited anonymously from US House of Representatives http://t.co/uYnpzq4b0i

— congress-edits (@congressedits) July 22, 2014

The continual prank edits were cast into the spotlight by watchdog Twitter bot @congressedits. On July 8, 2014, developer Ed Summers wrote an algorithm that scans Wikipedia for changes to content made by computers in Congress and posts them to the social media account. “There is an incredible yearning in this country and around the world,” wrote Summers on his blog, “for using technology to provide more transparency about our democracies.”

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