Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2017-10-23/In the media

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Facebook and poetry: Fighting fake news and plagiarism.


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Facebook is enlisting Wikipedia in its ongoing fight against fake news. The new tool, announced October 5, 2017 uses Wikipedia to provide context about news articles. For example, if an article by Associated Press comes up, clicking on a small 'I' will bring up "The Associated Press (AP) is an American multinational nonprofit news agency headquartered in New York City that operates as a cooperativeuninc ..." The feature is now being tested in the United States, France, the Netherlands, and Germany.

The move comes after fact checkers enlisted by Facebook (such as Le Monde) complained about a lack of context. "I would say that the general lack of information — not only data — given by Facebook is a concern for a majority of publishers", wrote Adrien Sénéca to Politico. It was criticized by some, as the first paragraph to a Wikipedia article can be changed by just about anyone, and still show up on Facebook.

This is the most recent development in Facebook's fight against fake news. For many years, and increasingly since the United States presidential election, 2016, Facebook has been seen as complacent in the fake news world. After the election, Facebook enlisted PolitiFact,,, the AP and ABC News to patrol news on the platform in the US. In addition, since March users can flag fake news, and algorithms are working on detecting it. (Reported by Mashable and reported by Tech Crunch)

Jill Bialosky plagiarism

Jill Bialosky was quick to defend herself from accusations that she plagiarized content in her new memoir Poetry Will Save Your Life from the websites of the Academy of American Poets, the Poetry Foundation and, of all places, Wikipedia. When William Logan reviewed Bialosky's new memoir, he was quick to point out a few things. Logan noticed that many of the author biographies had been apparently plagiarized, saying:

Worse, she has plagiarized numerous passages from Wikipedia and the websites of the Academy of American Poets and the Poetry Foundation. Her borrowings are highlighted in bold.

Wikipedia on Robert Lowell:

Although Lowell's manic depression was often a great burden (for himself and his family), the subject of that mental illness led to some of his most important poetry, particularly as it manifested itself in his book Life Studies. When he was fifty, Lowell began taking lithium to treat his mental illness.

Bialosky on Lowell:

Although Lowell's manic depression was a great burden for him and his family, the exploration of mental illness in his verse led to some of his most important poetry, particularly as it manifested itself in Life Studies. When he was fifty, Lowell began taking lithium to treat his mental illness.

Logan even found that Bialosky had plagiarized another author:

Helen Vendler in Last Looks, Last Books on Plath's "Poppies in October":

Plath, under a wintry dawn sky . . . , finds herself on a street where poppies are for sale and where businessmen wearing bowler hats are walking by while an ambulance hurtles past, carrying a hemorrhaging woman.

Bialosky on "Poppies in October":

Under a wintery sky, she finds herself on a street where poppies are for sale and businessmen wearing bowler hats and an ambulance carrying a bleeding woman pass by.

This is just the latest development in a long history of plagiarism from Wikipedia. In 2015, Oxford University Press was discovered to have copied directly from Wikipedia. In 2014, an article on Piero di Cosimo written by The New York Times lifted most of its first paragraph straight from Wikipedia. BuzzFeed also suffered from a serial plagiarist. In 2013, Rand Paul took some sentences from Wikipedia. In 2010, Michel Houellebecq revealed that he had lifted parts of his book from Wikipedia. "If these people really think that [this is plagiarism], they haven't got the first notion of what literature is", he said. [Compare No true Scotsman?] "This is part of my method. This approach, muddling real documents and fiction, has been used by many authors. I have been influenced especially by [Georges] Perec and [Jorge Luis] Borges... I hope that this contributes to the beauty of my books, using this kind of material." Jane Goodall, ESPN, Tim Ryan, The United States Department of Defense, Chris Anderson have all plagiarized Wikipedia. (Reviewed in Tourniquet Review & Reported in The New York Times)

Advances in Applied Sociology

On March 8, 2017, sociologist Nicola Malizia published her article: "A social problem: individual and group rape" in the predatory journal Advances in Applied Sociology.[note 1] Malizia is affiliated with University of Enna "Kore" in Enna, Italy. During a talk page discussion on the article, where the veracity of this source was evaluated, editors discovered that a large amount of material was taken verbatim from WP's Rape article. The journal states that the content of the article is copyrighted by the publisher and the author but has been released under the Creative Commons Attribution International License (CC BY 4.0). (Published in Advances in Applied Sociology)

  1. ^ A previous version of this Signpost article read "in the journal Advances in Applied Sociology". See diff, per reader comment.

In brief

Second Inauguration mistake in Lincoln Memorial.jpg
Spelling mistake: The inscription is the Abraham Lincoln 1865 presidential inauguration speech. The F in the word "FUTURE" in the middle of the photograph was originally carved as an E, and was later repaired.
  • Tajikistan Demands Wikipedia "correct spelling mistakes": The state language committee of Tajikistan has threatened legal action over spelling mistakes in the Tajik language Wikipedia; the committee "warns the errors violate the country's state-language law and therefore make Wikipedia legally liable for the mistakes." (Reported by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)
  • The Wikipedia of "being wrong": Everipedia is, in their own telling, a dynamic fork of Wikipedia. This means that they copied Wikipedia's articles, and expanded on them. Unfortunately, it also has a history of being wrong. They have multiple times created articles on people who simply don't exist. Most recently, they have mis-identified the man behind the 2017 Las Vegas Strip shooting as Geary Danley, and the white supremacist in Charlottesville as Joel Vangheluwe. (Reported by The Outline)
  • Free Wikipedia: Roshan, a leading Afghan telecommunications provider serving nearly 6.0 million active subscribers, recently announced that they would provide free access to Wikipedia, without charging for mobile data for a year. (Reported by Khaama Press)

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