WIKI WOES

Wikipedia be­comes tar­get of anony­mous ed­its against Rus­sia

Down to Earth - - CONTENTS - WIKIPEDIA>> POL­I­TICS>> RUS­SIA/UKRAINE

An­i­mos­ity between Rus­sia and Ukraine takes Wikipedia hostage through in­for­ma­tion war

THE IN­FOR­MA­TION war rag­ing along­side mil­i­tary hos­til­i­ties in Ukraine has hit Wikipedia. Whether it is cul­pa­bil­ity in the Malaysia Air­lines crash, Crimea's le­gal sta­tus or the in­tegrity of Rus­sian state me­dia, gov­ern­ment com­puter users have wran­gled over all of th­ese is­sues via anony­mous ed­its to the col­lab­o­ra­tive free-ac­cess on­line en­cy­clo­pe­dia dur­ing Ukraine's stand­off with pro-Rus­sian sep­a­ratists and the Krem­lin.

The re­vi­sions were ex­posed in the sec­ond week of July, thanks to new Twit­ter feeds that track anony­mous Wikipedia ed­its made from IP ad­dresses linked to gov­ern­ments in Moscow, Kyiv and Wash­ing­ton. Ar­guably, the most po­lit­i­cally charged of th­ese sur­rep­ti­tious on­line tus­sles cen­tred on the July 17 Malaysian air­liner crash over rebel-con­trolled east­ern Ukraine that killed all 298 peo­ple aboard. The same day, a user with a Ukrainian IP ad­dress al­tered a Rus­sian-lan­guage Wikipedia en­try on air dis­as­ters.

The per­pe­tra­tors, the anony­mous ed­i­tor al­leged, were "ter­ror­ists of the self-pro­claimed Donetsk Peo­ple's Repub­lic with Buk mis­siles sys­tems that the ter­ror­ists ob­tained from the Rus­sian Fed­er­a­tion."

The as­ser­tion pro­voked a counter-edit from some­one us­ing a com­puter as­so­ci­ated with the Rus­sian state TV hold­ing com­pany VGTRK, which Ukraine and its al­lies have ac­cused of ma­nip­u­la­tions and lies in its news cov­er­age of the con­flict. Both the ed­its were sub­se­quently re­moved.

AJIT BA­JAJ / CSE

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