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Irish Manages To Trick Wikipedia Again

It what seems as a testament to perils journalists expose themselves when they collect information from the internet, Shane Fitzgerald, a student of University College of Dublin was able to hoodwink a large section worldwide news media into quoting a fictional text attributed to late film composer Maurice Jarre.

When renowned film composer Maurice Jarre passed away in March this year, Shane visited his bio page on Wikipedia and added a fictional quote.

Since Wikipedia allows anyone to edit and add content, Shane hardly experienced any difficulty in playing his little trick, but what was surprising was that he was able to fool some of the most respected journalists in business today and his fictional quote was carried by likes of BBC Music magazine and The Guardian amongst others.

Some believe that the quote which Shane placed was inherently beautiful and it read “One could say my life itself has been one long soundtrack, Music was my life, music brought me to life, and music is how I will be remembered long after I leave this life. When I die there will be a final waltz playing in my head, that only I can hear."

This incident is surely going to serve as a wakeup call to journalists who rely on the internet for their stories and avoid verifying the facts.

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Our Comments

Wikipedia is based on user generated content. This means that it is highly likely that there are (and will be) issues associated with tens of thousands of people collaborate on producing content. As always, people need to take Wikipedia content with a pinch of salt.

Related Links

Wikipedia hoax points to limits of journalists' research

(Ars Technica)

Irish Wikifiddler hoaxes worldwide journos (opens in new tab)

(The Register)

Student's Wiki hoax quote reprinted worldwide

(Pocket Link UK)

Irish student fools journos with Wikipedia (opens in new tab)

(The Inquirer)

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.