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Spanish TV turns Wiki-hoaxer

Gonzo 2.0

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The Spanish "silly season" has brought out the gonzo element of the local media, with two TV stations vandalising Wikipedia.

State-owned TVE2 changed an entry on John Lennon to say that he was fond of paella. Antenna 3 altered the date of Elvis Presley's date from 16 August 1977 to 16 August 2007 in the Spanish edition of Wikipedia. Both the bogus edits were described as "experiments".

TVE2 persuaded an expert to make the changes to Wikipedia to illustrate a story about how the CIA allegedly vandalised entries in the encyclopedia about Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Antenna 3 said it altered Elvis's death to see how long spurious information would persist on the site before it was corrected. Not long, as it turned out.

Spanish blog Barrapunto was among those covering this spate of wikifiddling to criticise Antenna 3 for failing to point out it had to register on Wikipedia before making its edits to the online encyclopedia.

Most of Spain goes on holiday in August and news is admittedly thin on the ground. But you'd think editors might have the nous to send their staff out to investigate why road fatalities have risen a year after Spain introduced a points system against offending motorists, for example. ®

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