An anonymous Internet troll presumably working in the House has made more than a few transphobic edits to popular pages on Wikipedia, forcing the company to effectively ban all anonymous users in the Capitol from creating or editing content on the website.
The Hill reports that disgruntled Wikipedia community moderators took issue with the repeat offender this week after he or she edited the page for the Netflix drama “Orange Is the New Black”, changing a description of Emmy-nominated actress Laverne Cox from “a real transgender woman” to “a real man pretending to be a woman.”
This is the third time this summer that such edits have been made from a specific IP address linked to the House of Representatives.
Earlier this week, the exact same IP address was responsible for editing the page for “Tranny”, prompting Wikipedia community moderators to open a dispute in order to appeal for a sweeping ban of anonymous accounts working from it.
(FYI, anyone can create or edit content on Wikipedia without signing up or logging in. All changes made to pages are later approved or deleted by community moderators, volunteer users from around the world who edit Wikipedia because they believe in its mission. The ban placed on the IP address linked to the House only blocks anonymous accounts, leaving full editing privileges for registered users only.)
“An obvious transphobe is using this IP to edit the article on transphobia,” a Wikipedia wrote earlier this month, urging administrators to block the account.
“I have no problem with Congressional staffers editing Wikipedia,” another user wrote towards the person behind the changes. “I have a problem only with YOU vandalizing Wikipedia.”
Someone using the House IP address defended the edits as an attempt to provide fairness on the subject, and said the moves were “official business” endorsed by a member of Congress.
“There’s nothing illegal about editing Wikipedia to promote official business that has been explicitly authourized [sic] by the Representative,” someone working in the House wrote in a dispute this week over some of the changes.
“When you have other Representatives trying to push for laws such as [the Employment Non-Discrimination Act], or when you have the [European Union] using neocolonialist methods to impose transgenderism on the nation of Georgia through a visa agreement, it’s all the more important.”
So apparently people in Congress believe they can literally rewrite history to further their own causes. The disturbing trend was only recently brought to light after the creation of a Twitter account that automatically alerts the public whenever House staffers update Wikipedia anonymously. Since it was created on July 8, it has recorded more than 200 instances in which Congress has edited Wikipedia anonymously.
Orange Is the New Black Wikipedia article edited anonymously from US House of Representatives http://t.co/dIeJefU2KV
— congress-edits (@congressedits) August 20, 2014
While there’s no way of finding out who the anonymous troll is without further investigation by Wikipedia, a commenter notes that the account associated with the IP address in question “also added Congressman Hal Rodgers to ‘Notable People of Somerset Kentucky’ Hmmmm.”