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Wikipedia Under Fire

Here are some notable recent controversies with the popular reader-edited, online encyclopedia:

• July 2005: Aides to Rep. Marty Meehan (D-MA) delete information from his biography referring to Meehan's broken pledge to abide by term limits, as well as the size of his campaign account. Matt Vogel, Meehan's chief of staff, later admits to leading the effort to replace the congressman's Wikipedia biography with one written by his staff. The incident prompts a probe by Wikipedia administrators, who find 1,000 changes linked to congressional staffers from the U.S. House of Representatives.

• November 2005: Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg's biography on is vandalized by someone adding several libelous statements, including accusations he is a pedophile and has served prison time for his crimes.

• November 2005: John Seigenthaler, Sr., complains in a USA Today editorial that his Wikipedia biography states he is possibly linked to the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and his brother, Sen. Robert Kennedy. Brian Chase, a delivery service manager in Texas, later admits to doctoring the entry in May to play a trick on a friend -- but the entry was not fixed for months.

• December 2005: Former MTV host Adam Curry, now an Internet entrepreneur, admits to doctoring the Wikipedia entry on podcasting to give himself more credit for the development of the technology, and downplay the role of other important developers such as Kevin Marks. Curry later apologizes for his actions in a blog entry.

• January 2006: Jimmy Wales, one of the founders of Wikipedia, changes his own online biography as many as 18 times to downplay the role of his former editor, Larry Sanger, in helping to create the Web encyclopedia. Wales claims he was only trying to clarify technical details regarding Sanger's role at the company.

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