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A brief history of Wikipedia controversies

Take a few moments and try Googling somebody of note. Anybody. Marie Curie. Lenny Kravitz. Stephen King.

Whichever name you choose, it's a pretty safe bet that their Wikipedia entry will be among the first two or three links served up to you. Whatever your feelings on the crowd-sourced encyclopedia, it is undoubtedly popular, well-read and largely reliable.

Naturally, those three things provide an irresistible draw for those who are more interested in manipulating information than they are in making it accurate. Here are a few examples of such nefarious characters who were caught with their hand in the Wiki jar.

British Columbia Partisans

Ahead of the 2013 provincial election in British Columbia, an edit war erupted on the Wikipedia entries for incumbent Liberal premier Christy Clark and then-NDP Leader Adrian Dix. Partisans supporters on both sides were accused of grooming each leader's page, removing mentions of past scandals. Clark went on to defeat Dix and returned to the premier's office.

U.S. Party Politics

In 2005, the the IP address assigned to the U.S. House of Representatives was blocked from editing Wikipedia due to a "deliberate attempt to compromise the integrity of the encyclopedia.

Expensive Reputations

In March 2012, it was discovered that U.K. MPs or their staff had made nearly 10,000 edits to Wikipedia. Many of the changes were primarily concerned with scrubbing unflattering details that were revealed during the 2009 expenses scandal.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 17

In July 2014, the Daily Telegraph reported that IP addresses associated with the Russian government had edited articles related to the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. Changes submitted from those addresses removed claims that Russia provided the missile system that was later used to shoot down the aircraft.

The Gulf of Mexico

In March 2013, it was revealed that an employee of British Petroleum was editing the company's page in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and the massive oil spill that followed.

Hate In Croatia

In September 2013, newspapers reported that the Croatian-language edition of Wikipedia had been overrun by a group intent on promoting anti-gat sentiment. The malicious edits prompted the county's minister of education to issue a warning to students that the site should not be trusted.