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U.S. Congress, staff banned from editing Wikipedia after suspicious edits found

Atmosphere at PBS's 2014 A CAPITOL FOURTH at U.S. Capitol, West Lawn on July 4, 2014 in Washington, DC.
Atmosphere at PBS's 2014 A CAPITOL FOURTH at U.S. Capitol, West Lawn on July 4, 2014 in Washington, DC.
Photo by Paul Morigi

After suspicious activity was detected, the United States Congress and their staff have been banned from editing or attempting to edit Wikipedia.

Wikipedia is one of the largest online encyclopedias and the source of information for millions of internet users. Due to many having access to edit Wikipedia, there are times when misinformation finds its way onto the site until it is updated and fixed, which is usually fairly quickly. A number of questionable edits were found from IP addresses that were located inside the United States Congress. The automatic twitter account known as "Congress Edits" is able to track those IP addresses and does so with the sole purpose of tracking those in Congress to monitor if they have made any changes.

According to The Guardian, the edits that were made were odd choices, including but not limited to the Reptilians page that covers the conspiracy of the lizard people, the accusation that the Cuban government faked a moon landing, and accused former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld of being an alien wizard.

One tweet sent out by "Congress Edits" came just before 3:30pm EST on Wednesday, making note of the change to the Reptilian page.

"congress-edits @congressedits

Reptilians Wikipedia article edited anonymously from US House of Representatives

3:22 PM - 23 Jul 2014"

The Guardian notes that administrators at Wikipedia were forced to put a ban on Congress, their staff and any users with the same IP address from editing any Wikipedia page.

"Wikipedia's administrators, who implemented a 10-day ban on any changes coming from one particular IP address within the US Congress, 'due to disruptive editing originating from that address'."

Wikipedia has had its share of hits and misses, but it generally provides solid information, or at the very least, a foundation and summary of events. Whether people inside the halls of Congress were just goofing around or not is in question, but maybe more could get done in the country if they were more worried about doing their job than editing an internet page.

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