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Someone In Congress Seems To Be Trolling A Twitter Bot That Tracks Wikipedia Editing

Congress appears to be getting something done this year after all!

Originally posted on
Updated on

We know this thanks to @congressedits, a Twitter bot that tracks every Wikipedia page edited from a congressional IP address.

Choco Taco Wikipedia article edited anonymously from US House of Representatives http://t.co/rhbc5fAqro

The edits — keep in mind, it's unclear if they actually come from the halls of Congress or are the result of something like an IP spoof — are usually pretty mundane, made to representatives' own pages. But occasionally, we get a bizarre one — the Choco Taco page has been edited several times, for example.

This got so bad in 2014 that Wikipedia actually banned the House of Representatives from making any page changes for 10 days, citing "persistent disruptive editing."

While the bot been tweeting for three years, something has been happening these past few weeks. The edits have gotten...particularly interesting.

Chuck E. Cheese's Wikipedia article edited anonymously from US House of Representatives https://t.co/XLNtnAikHl

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For example, the Carly Rae Jepsen page was edited to call her the "worlds [sic] greatest singer."

Carly Rae Jepsen Wikipedia article edited anonymously from US House of Representatives https://t.co/JKDTT6k7RC

And someone edited a page on Star Wars species to clarify that "Porgs are dope."

List of Star Wars species (P–T) Wikipedia article edited anonymously from US House of Representatives https://t.co/or5Ht6Ehit

There used to be occasionally goofy page changes, but now we're getting completely bonkers edits pretty much daily.

The All-American Rejects Wikipedia article edited anonymously from US House of Representatives https://t.co/ryuQqyw13D

Fuddruckers Wikipedia article edited anonymously from US House of Representatives https://t.co/IchKGBlHhI

In fact, it kiiind of seems like someone in the House of Representatives is trolling the bot.

Sonic the Hedgehog (1991 video game) Wikipedia article edited anonymously from US House of Representatives https://t.co/QI038BZD0P

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But who? Is it one of our representatives? A scorned staffer? A team of prankster interns acting in tandem?

Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers Wikipedia article edited anonymously from US House of Representatives https://t.co/Q6zK8MjKCT

Whoever they are, they seem to have strong feelings about the video game series Metal Gear.

Metal Gear Wikipedia article edited anonymously from US House of Representatives https://t.co/MBOYxc9Vb7

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater Wikipedia article edited anonymously from US House of Representatives https://t.co/uchjn19hmn

Otacon Wikipedia article edited anonymously from US House of Representatives https://t.co/zUJq8LTfPh

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UPDATE

Following the publication of this article, the Wikipedia page for BuzzFeed was edited to include the sentence "They'll never find me."

BuzzFeed Wikipedia article edited anonymously from US House of Representatives https://t.co/6ME4PwdSNT

UPDATE

Between Thursday afternoon and Friday morning, the House of Representatives IP address was temporarily blocked from editing Wikipedia "due to repeated violation of Wikipedia policies," Samantha Lien, a spokesperson for Wikipedia, told BuzzFeed News.

The block was issued by one of Wikipedia's volunteer administrators and lasted about 31 hours, Lien said. Their editing abilities have since been restored.

"Wikipedia aims to be a neutral, reliable source of free knowledge for all, and vandalism and other violations of Wikipedia policies directly go against this," said Lien.

Julia Reinstein is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Julia Reinstein at julia.reinstein@buzzfeed.com.

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