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Russia has been accused of tampering with the Wikipedia page relating to the Malaysian Airlines MH17 flight tragedy. A Twitter bot monitoring Russian government IP addresses has spotted key changes to an entry about the crash.
The original Wikipedia post, listing civil aviation accidents, said that the plane was shot down "by terrorists of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic with Buk system missiles, which the terrorists received from the Russian Federation". However, less than an hour later, the post was edited to read that the plane was shot down by the "Ukrainian military".
All edits to Wikipedia, along with username and IP address, are permanently logged, and are publicly accessible as part of the site's policy on transparency.
In this case, the change was spotted by the account @RUGoveEdits, which automatically tweets every time an IP address linked to a Russian state agency makes an edit on Wikipedia. It appears that a computer user from within the All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company (VHTRK) edited the Russian-language version of the Wikipedia entry
Статья в Википедии Список авиационных катастроф в гражданской авиации была отредактирована ВГТРК https://t.co/wpOmniN6tn
— Госправки (@RuGovEdits) July 18, 2014
The tweet says (translated), "Wikipedia article List of aircraft accidents in civil aviation has been edited by RTR [another name for VGTRK]".
Previously, an automated Twitter bot by the name of congress-edits was created to track and tweet changes to Wikipedia articles that originate from IP addresses belonging to the United States Congress. It was after the source code of the project was made public that the Russian version was developed.
The ill-fated Malaysian airliner MH17 crashed in Ukraine last week, on the border with Russia, with 298 people on board. There were no survivors. While Ukraine claims the plane was shot down by Russian-supported separatists, Russia blamed Ukraine for the tragedy.