A new application that traces the source of changes made to Wikipedia entries has revealed that the Catholic Church, the Church of Scientology and the Mormons have all been doing a spot of sneaky editing. The Wikipedia Scanner trawls through the online, user-edited encyclopedia unearthing the location of computers responsible for edits. It found that users within the Vatican had made changes to entries on Catholic saints and, bizarrely, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams. The change to Adams' entry involved removing a link to a 2006 newspaper story which alleged his fingerprints had been found on a car used in a double murder in 1971.
The Church of Scientology has been found to have edited the entry pertaining to its worldwide "spiritual headquarters" in Clearwater, Florida. A passage which suggested that the organisation has at times had a "hostile" relationship with local residents was removed in an edit shown by the Scanner to have come from within the Church. The Mormons have also been found to have removed criticism from their entry.
The must publicised edits came from within the CIA, having made changes to pages as diverse as those of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and talk-show host Oprah Winfrey. Other notable editors include the Rebublican Party, who replaced the term "occupying forces" with the world "liberating" in an Iraq War entry, and Al-Jazeera, who inserted a line into Israel's entry comparing the foundation of the Jewish state to the holocaust.
For a comprehensive list of interesting edits, see the Wired Science blog