Remember @CongressEdits, the tweetbot that alerts whenever a Wikipedia article is edited from a government IP address? There’s a Russian version now, and it just uncovered some pretty drastic edits to a Wikipedia article that mentions Flight MH17, originating from a Russian government IP address.
As The Telegraph reports, @RuGovEdits tweeted that a computer user from within the All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company (VHTRK) edited the Russian-language version of the Wikipedia entry about the Malaysian Airlines passenger jet shot down over Ukraine yesterday.
The original version of the Wikipedia article listing civil aviation accidents stated that MH17 had been shot down “by terrorists of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic with Buk system missiles, which the terrorists received from the Russian Federation.” Emphasis added.
The edits originating from the government-owned computer changed the article to read “the plane [flight MH17] was shot down by Ukrainian soldiers“. Again, emphasis added.
@RuGovEdits alerted the public with a tweet that says (translated): “Wikipedia article List of aircraft accidents in civil aviation has been edited by RTR [another name for VGTRK]”.
Статья в Википедии Список авиационных катастроф в гражданской авиации была отредактирована ВГТРК http://t.co/peZ60q07Fj
— Госправки (@RuGovEdits) July 18, 2014
If @RuGovEdits is to be trusted (and considering the Wiki-twitterbot code is widely available on Github, it probably can be), it certainly seems like someone within the Russian government is working to hide the widely-held fact that Russian weapons were used to bring down MH17. But while Wikipedia might be malleable, it’s also transparent. [The Telegraph via Amanda Zamora]