oh congress!

Someone Has Been Using Congressional Internet to Make Goofy Changes to Wikipedia

16 Apr 2014, Washington, DC, USA --- The United States Capital Building in Washington DC --- Image by ? James Leynse/Corbis
Photo: James Leynse/Corbis

A couple of weeks ago, the Twitter account @congressedits — which, according to its own bio, automatically “tweets anonymous Wikipedia edits that are made from IP addresses in the US Congress” — began publicizing some particularly useless changes to the world’s biggest online encyclopedia. As the Washington Post first noted, someone using a United States House of Representatives internet connection felt the need alter Wikipedia’s “Horse head mask” entry to reflect President Obama’s recent encounter with one in Denver.

Other news outlets pointed out that someone using the same Capitol IP address had changed Wikipedia pages so that they accused the Cubans of spreading moon landing conspiracies, claimed that conspiracy theorist Alex Jones is a Russian agent, and perpetuated the long-standing — though likely untrue rumor — that Donald Rumsfeld is “an alien lizard who eats Mexican babies.”

By the end of this week, Wikipedia’s community of hard-working editors had had quite enough from this Congress-based jokester (or jokesters?). In a statement to the Post, Wikimedia Foundation spokeswoman Katherine Maher explained that Wikipedia had placed a “temporary, 10-day block on the IP address associated with the U.S. Congress” because of “disruptive editing originating from that address.”

The Post reports that someone from the House protested Wikipedia’s actions, noting that the “over 9000 staffers” who use the IP address were being punished for the actions of a few. But, with Wikipedia likely to stick to its decision, it looks like Congress’s bored aides — or possibly bored members of Congress themselves! — will have to find a new way to run out the clock until August recess.

Congressional IP Address Banned From Wikipedia