WikiScanner (short for Wikipedia Scanner) is a tool created by Virgil Griffith and released on August 14, 2007, which consists of a publicly searchable database that links millions of anonymous विकिपीडिया edits to the organizations where those edits apparently originated, by cross-referencing the edits with data on the owners of the associated block of IP addresses. The Associated Press reported that Griffith wanted "to create minor public relations disasters for companies and organizations I dislike." In his "WikiScanner FAQ" Griffith stated:
- "Overall--especially for non-controversial topics--Wikipedia already works. For controversial topics, Wikipedia can be made more reliable through techniques like [WikiScanner]."
- "For any sort of "open" project, I strongly prefer allowing people to remain anonymous while also doing various back-end analyses to counteract vandalism and disinformation."
According to Griffith's WikiScanner FAQ, the tool's database contains "34,417,493 anonymous [Wikipedia] edits dating from February 7th, 2002 to August 4th, 2007." He stated that the database was constructed "by extracting all anonymous edits from the publicly available Wikipedia database dump (which is released about once a month)." Griffith said he used the ip2location database that has "2,668,095 different organizations...which I am using to connect IP#'s to organization names. Within the ip2location database, there are 187,529 different organizations with at least one anonymous wikipedia edit."
A possible criticism of the tool is that it cannot distinguish edits made by authorized users of an organization's computers from edits made by unauthorized intruders, or by users of public-access computers that may be part of an organization's network. In discussing edits apparently made from computers in the Vatican, computer expert Kevin Curran was quoted by the BBC as saying that it was "difficult to determine if the person was an employee or if they had maliciously hacked into the Vatican system and were "spoofing" the IP address." Griffith's WikiScanner FAQ makes this पात्रता about any edit detected by the tool: "Technically, we don't know whether [the edit] came from an agent of that company; however, we do know that edit came from someone with access to their network." Although the FAQ goes on to say that "we can reasonably assume" that any such edit was from an employee or authorized guest, there is no guarantee that the edit was made by an authorized user rather than an intruder. The likelihood of such intrusions varies with the security in organizations' networks.
Media coverage and reaction[संपादन]
According to Wired, which first broke the story, most edits are "fairly innocuous". Wired asked users to submit "The most shameful Wikipedia spin jobs", which has generated numerous news stories about individual organizations, such as the Al-Jazeera network, Fox News, staffers of Democratic Senator Robert Byrd and the CIA, that have each edited Wikipedia articles.
According to the BBC, WikiScanner found that editorial contributions were made on Wikipedia which originated at computers operated by Diebold company, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Vatican. The Times reported that an Internet address of the BBC itself had made edits to Wikipedia. The BBC's Head of Interactive News, Pete Clifton subsequently published a blog acknowledging the bias of the BBC's reporting of others' misdemeanours. Clifton characterized the BBC's edits of Wikipedia in this manner:
- "Some of the examples are pretty unedifying, but for every dodgy one there are many, many more uncontroversial edits where people at the BBC have added information or changed a detail in good faith. The scanner also shows the same kind of results for a wide variety of other media organisations."
The Associated Press also reported that Church of Scientology owned computers have been used to remove criticism from articles about Scientology on Wikipedia, including edits to the article Cult Awareness Network. The Associated Press admitted that edits to Wikipedia had been made anonymously from its own computers, though the news organization did not describe the content of the edits. In its story on WikiScanner, the New York Times admitted that edits had been made from its own computers, as well. Wired.com reported that the office of former Republican Senator Conrad Burns also edited critical passages.
According to Maltastar.com, WikiScanner uncovered edits by other large organizations, including Amnesty International, Apple Inc., ChevronTexaco, Coca Cola, the British Conservative Party, Dell Computers, EA Games, Exxon Mobil, the FBI, The Guardian, Microsoft, MySpace, the National Rifle Association, Nestlé, News of the World, the New York Times, the Government of Portugal, the US Republican Party, Reuters, Sony, the United Nations, Walmart, and a dog breeding association. The Canadian television network CTV reported edits by other organizations including Disney and the Canadian government. Australian media reports commented on anonymous edits to Wikipedia from computers operated by the Australian government, prompting restrictions by the government on the editing of Wikipedia from its computers.
- "It's awesome -- I love it...It brings an additional level of transparency to what's going on at Wikipedia...[WikiScanner] uses information we've been making publicly available forever, hoping someone would do something like this."
Another story quoted Wales as saying WikiScanner was "fabulous and I strongly support it." The BBC quoted an unnamed Wikipedia spokesperson's praise for the tool:
- "We really value transparency and the scanner really takes this to another level...Wikipedia Scanner may prevent an organisation or individuals from editing articles that they're really not supposed to."
Wales also commented that Wikipedia might make changes in response to the release of WikiScanner "to help visitors better understand what information is recorded about them." The New York Times quoted Wales on a possible warning to anonymous editors:
- "When someone clicks on 'edit,' it would be interesting if we could say, 'Hi, thank you for editing. We see you’re logged in from The New York Times. Keep in mind that we know that, and it’s public information'...That might make them stop and think."
- Katie Hafner. "Seeing Corporate Fingerprints in Wikipedia Edits". 2007-08-19 रोजी पाहिले.
- John Borland. "See Who's Editing Wikipedia - Diebold, the CIA, a Campaign". 2007-08-17 रोजी पाहिले.
- "New online tool unmasks Wikipedia edits". Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. 2007-08-16 रोजी पाहिले.
- Virgil Griffith. "WikiScanner FAQ". Archived from the original on 2007-08-30. 2007-08-18 रोजी पाहिले.
- "Wikipedia Scanner outs Vatican, CIA". 2007-08-18 रोजी पाहिले.
- "See Who's Editing Wikipedia - Diebold, the CIA, a Campaign". 2007-08-19 रोजी पाहिले.
- "Vote On the Most Shameful Wikipedia Spin Jobs". 2007-08-17 रोजी पाहिले.
- Jonathan Fildes. "Wikipedia 'shows CIA page edits'". 2007-08-16 रोजी पाहिले.
- Rhys Blakely. "Wal-Mart, CIA, ExxonMobil Changed Wikipedia Entries". 2007-08-18 रोजी पाहिले.
- Pete Clifton. "Wikipedia edits". 2007-08-16 रोजी पाहिले.
- "Student's program sends PR chaos in Wiki-scandal". 2007-08-19 रोजी पाहिले.
- "Government computers linked to Wikipedia edits". Archived from the original on 2007-08-21. 2007-08-20 रोजी पाहिले.
- "PM's staff edited Wikipedia". 2007-08-25 रोजी पाहिले.
- "PM's staff edit Wikipedia entries". Archived from the original on 2007-11-09. 2007-08-24 रोजी पाहिले.
- "Defence blocks staff's Wikipedia access". 2007-08-25 रोजी पाहिले.
- Peter Meyers (September 20, 2001). "Fact-Driven? Collegial? This Site Wants You". 2007-08-17 रोजी पाहिले.
- Katherine Noyes. "New Tool Outs Would-Be Wikipedia Tricksters". Archived from the original on 2021-01-20. 2007-08-16 रोजी पाहिले.
- WikiScanner, a tool to list anonymous Wikipedia edits from organizations.
- Virgil Griffith's homepage
- Listen to an RTÉ news piece on WikiScanner (Realplayer required).
- A new website unmasks Wikipedia's vandals Archived 2007-08-27 at the Wayback Machine. - by Michael Agger, Slate.com
- Robert Verkaik. "Wikipedia and the art of censorship". Archived from the original on 2007-08-20. 2007-08-20 रोजी पाहिले.