Russian Government Reportedly Edits Flight MH17 Wikipedia Page, Gets Caught By Tweetbot
Well, that's awkward. According to The Telegraph, a Twitterbot caught the Russian government editing a flight MH17 Wikipedia page Friday, allegedly changing the entry so that it correlates with their current political stance regarding the source of the missile (i.e. "Ukraine did it."). To be fair, the original entry had also been edited, blaming Russia in no uncertain terms for the Malaysia Airlines crash. As it stands, the source of the missile is still a mystery, with answers hard to find among the chaos of the crash site.
While the situation on the MH17 crash site continues to worsen, and speculation continues to grow regarding the source of the fatal missile, certain Wikipedia contributors have apparently been confusing everyone with their not-so-subtle blame-game. (Don't panic: the edits were made on the Russian-language version of the site.)
According to Global Voices, the original edit was made from someone in Kyiv, Ukraine's capital. Whoever it was had no qualms pointing the finger directly at Russia, editing the page so that it read: "The plane was shot down by terrorists of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic with Buk system missiles, which the terrorists received from the Russian Federation."
This entry was edited less than an hour later, according to Wired. It read: "The plane was shot down by Ukrainian soldiers." Unfortunately for Russia, the edit was caught by a new Twitter bot, @RuGovEdits, that checks all Wikipedia edits made from Russian government IP addresses — this particular one, it turns out, was allegedly made by from the All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company (VGTRK). "Wikipedia article List of aircraft accidents in civil aviation has been edited by VGTRK," the bot tweeted.
The finger-pointing is of course continuing outside of the web, as well. Right now, the Ukrainian government has blamed pro-Russian rebels (and, by extension, the Russian government) of tampering with the MH17 evidence, accusing the separatists of stealing the victims' bodies and blocking the investigators from getting to the crash site. This has all been vehemently denied by the self-declared Prime Minister of Donetsk People's Republic Alexsander Borodai, who's said the rebels have done nothing whatsoever to the scene of the crash.
Although President Barack Obama has indicated that the rebels might be to blame for the tragedy — saying that the “shot was taken in territory controlled by separatists” — he's stayed clear of making any direct accusations. And he's wisely chosen to avoid obscure Wikipedia-blaming, too.