Skip to main content

Government trolls target Muslims in latest barrage of Wikipedia edits

Government workers are again in hot water after Wikipedia pages were daubed with derogatory comments about Muslims in a charge sheet that is growing as the days pass by.

The BBC found the phrase “all Muslims are terrorists” was edited into a page explaining what a veil is and the charity representing Wikipedia in the UK has taken a dim view of the edits.

"We find this kind of vandalism appalling. Wikipedia is the encyclopaedia that anyone can edit, said Stevie Benton from Wikimedia UK. "This openness has led to an enormous reference work of great value. While vandalism does occasionally happen we are grateful to the many thousands of volunteers who write, edit and organise the content."

Related: Government trolls insult Hillsborough disaster victims via Wikipedia

Over a hundred edits were made using two IP addresses that relate to government owned machines that included both vandalism of pages as well as long passages of text being removed from the site.

In addition to the comments mentioned above, the page relating to the word “veil” was also edited so that it stated: "It should be noted that the word Veil, when the letters rearraged [sic], spells evil.”

"Since the Veil is mostly worn by Muslims, and all Muslims are terrorists (with the argument for this being that all terrorists have been Muslim), this fact should be dually [sic] noted by all,” read the entry, which was deleted by a Wikipedia volunteer six minutes later.

When it came to deleting large pieces of text, Cherie Blair’s account was picked out and paragraphs were deleted concerning an incident when she bought flats at a discounted rate with the help of convicted fraudster Peter Foster. This was before the changes were revoked at a later date when another user argued they were “relevant to the subject’s reputation.”

Other entries that were attacked include a page on the London Bombings, Tony Blair, Jamie Oliver, Richard Littlejohn, The Libertines, Wayne Rooney, and Arsene Wenger.

The Liverpool Echo was the first media outlet to report that government computers had been responsible for malicious Wikipedia edits after a number of Wikipedia pages relating to the Hillsborough disaster were attacked from government IP addresses.

In an email the Cabinet Office stated that all the changes were “sickening” before adding: "The amendments made to Wikipedia are sickening. The behaviour is in complete contravention of the Civil Service Code. It is entirely unacceptable."

"The Civil Service Code applies at all times, and we take breaches very seriously. We have already announced an investigation to examine offensive edits to Wikipedia, and will look at other concerns raised,” concluded the statement.