Congressional Computer Banned By Wikipedia


An IP address at the House of Representatives has received a 10-day ban from anonymous edits on Wikipedia. It follows malicious edits receiving unwanted publicity.

A Twitter account, @congressedits, automatically posts a message whenever a computer using any IP address assigned to Congress makes an edit. While it may be that some representatives and their staff consider improving Wikipedia to be part of their civic duty, it appears at least one user is either a conspiracy theorist or a prankster.

Recent edits include adding claims that both the assassination of John F Kennedy and a supposed conspiracy to fake the Moon landings were the responsibility of Cuba, while Donald Rumsfeld’s profile was updated to refer to him as “an alien lizard who eats Mexican babies.”

The Washington Post reports that a Wikipedia administrator decided to act after media industry news site Mediaite covered the story. A Congressional user quickly updated Mediaite’s own Wikipedia page to call it a “sexist transphobic” publication.

The IP address from which that edit has been made has now received the 10-day ban for disruptive editing, which is classed as a pattern of edits that disrupt the process of improving and expanding Wikipedia. It follows a one-day ban imposed on 16 July.

Perhaps inevitably it’s only had a limited affect. Wikipedia also has a page on which users can discuss edits made from the specific IP address along with the ban. That page is already host to a discussion on whether or not Alex Jones (presumably the US radio host rather than the UK TV presenter) is a Russian agent.