Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Student Hoaxes World's Media


Twenty-two year old Sociology major Shane Fitzgerald of Dublin University wanted to test how readily modern media upholds accuracy and accountability in an age of instant news.

So he posted a phony poetic quote on Wikipedia about French composer Maurice Jarre (RIP), then watched as his unattributed "quotation" was picked up by newspapers around the globe.

Fitzgerald's experiment was an unethical act of virtual vandalism. It also underscored the unreliability of publicly-edited articles.

Wikimedia spokesman Jay Walsh stressed that Wikipedia editors picked up on the unattributed quotation and removed it from the site within a few hours.

But what if the author had provided a source as part of his experiment? Would the editors have been as quick to correct the entry? Perhaps a future experiment will provide an informative answer.

In the meantime, use Wiki as you like, but caveat emptor.

1 comment:

Kindred Spirit said...

Just as I always suspected---Wiki can be wicked! :-(