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Wiki Fraud Leads Media on Merry Waltz May 8, 2009

Posted by kewroad in internet, new media.

Interesting article says alot about influence of Wikipedia .  An Irish university student did an experiment into how widely a fake fact seeded into a Wikipedia entry would travel.  Seeing that composer Maurice Jarre had died , he made a fictitious career entry and added a false quote in Jarre’s Wikipedia article. Expecting the fake facts to be repeated on blogs, he actually saw his fake entry and quote appear almost verbatim in the obituaries published by major newspapers including the Guardian. 

Obviously the incident reveals that the media like the rest of us rely on Wikipedia as an information source almost instinctively.  Errors have littered newspaper copy long before Wikipedia appeared. The solution doesn’t lie in avoiding Wikipedia but remembering the value of corroboration. The problem is that does the media have the luxury to check every fact anymore? Or do we and they really care?



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