The credibility of the online encyclopedia Wikipedia has taken another dive after a newly developed software program exposed how the CIA, corporations like Diebold and others routinely edit entries to bury criticism and manipulate the truth.
In our previous investigation, we revealed how a group of trolls were engaged in a concerted campaign to erase the 9/11 truth movement, along with a host of other controversial subjects, out of cyber existence by voting to delete pages about subjects and individuals that obviously warrant a page on Wikipedia.
Examples we cited included such manifestly provable "conspiracy theories" as "List of Republican sex scandals," "People questioning the 9/11 Commission Report" and "Movement to impeach George W. Bush".
Trolls were even allowed to delete the Wiki page for Dylan Avery, who has appeared on Fox News, CNN and in hundreds of newspaper reports. Avery is the producer of the most watched documentary film in Internet history, he clearly merits a biography page on an online encyclopedia, but Wikipedia had no qualms in letting Morton Devonshire and other trolls deep six the entry.
Devonshire and his cohorts have exhibited extreme bias and agenda driven tactics in organizing to purge Wikipedia of material about the 9/11 truth movement, but Wikipedia hasn't done a damn thing to stop it.
Now a CalTech graduate student has developed a software tool that threatens to slam the final nail in the coffin of any credibility Wikipedia had left.
"Wikipedia Scanner -- the brainchild of CalTech 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," reports Wired News.
"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."
Griffith has compiled a list of different corporations and branches of government that have abused the so-called impartiality of Wikipedia to essentially edit the truth out of existence, replacing it with a PR friendly facade favorable not to the facts or any sense of neutrality, but only to the interests of the parties concerned.
The Wikipedia Scanner (http://wikiscanner.virgil.gr/) also allows users to type in an IP range and find out which organizations are editing what pages on Wikipedia.
"The result: A database of 5.3 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. Some of this appears to be transparently self-interested, either adding positive, press release-like material to entries, or deleting whole swaths of critical material," concludes the Wired report.
Unless Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales (pictured top) acts immediately to completely restructure Wikipedia's entire operating system, the online encyclopedia will gradually combust and degenerate into nothing more than a laughing stock.
From many quarters, the giggles are already being heard.
"I'm going to log on to Wikipedia here and I am going to change it," said comedian Stepehen Colbert. "You see, any user can change any entry. And if enough other users agree with them, it becomes true."
Though Wikipedia's raison d'etre is obviously based around allowing users to edit the content, the checks to prevent abuse and organized partisan attack campaigns against certains subjects or ideas are non-existent and the absence of any kind of reasonable moderation is destroying Wiki's reputation.
Wikipedia is fast becoming a complete anathema to reliable research and will see its wavering reputation as a trustworthy source for information quickly evaporate if it continues to allow itself to be abused by intelligence agencies, corporations and dedicated trolls.