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Wikipedia Hoax May 17, 2009

Posted by Dwight Furrow in Current Events, Dwight Furrow's Posts.

A sociology student placed a fake quote on Wikipedia. That is not a surprise. Anyone can update articles on Wikipedia. Any serious use of Wikipedia requires independent fact-checking.

The problem is the false information was repeated in a variety of newspapers across the country, according a Dublin News Service.

Shane Fitzgerald, a student at Ireland’s University College Dublin, added the false information to the Wikipedia entry for Maurice Jarre, a recently deceased Oscar-winning composer, just to see how far the information would spread.

“I didn’t expect it to go that far. I expected it to be in blogs and sites, but on mainstream quality papers? I was very surprised about,” he said.

Traditional journalism is in trouble as newspapers across the country are going out of business. The argument for lamenting the demise of newspapers is that their reporters can do research that the rest of us cannot do.

But anyone can look up information on Wikipedia. It kinda undermines their argument.




1. Ian Duckles - May 18, 2009

This piece from Glen Greenwald nicely expands on the issues Dwight raises.

Among other things, the article discusses NYTimes Columnist Maureen Dowd’s recent plagiarism of a blogger.

2. Jennifer McClure - May 19, 2009

Not surprised at all that a simple quote by Shane went so far. Society today has tried to make life a simple as it can be. Internet is one of the fastest ways to receive information whether that it is true or false. Scary that people can be implanting false information daily into their head. Not only is the fast and simple motto of America effecting intelligence, yet also newspaper companies, authors of books, and even traditional magazines with solid information. School’s itself are not helping with mostly everything information about the classroom being online; as well as, online classes, test and quizzes given online, and communicating with the teacher only via e-mail. It will be a very interesting to watch on where this technology era will take us.

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