Government search for Wikipedia source

By James Riches topicIcon Internet News

Government says finding those responsible will be "challenging"

The government has called a full inquiry to try and find those responsible for posting offensive comments about the Hillsborough disaster on Wikipedia, but suggests it will prove "challenging" to identify the culprits.

A report in the Liverpool Echo last week revealed that additions to the Wikipedia page on the infamous 1989 catastrophe had come from computers within Whitehall, implying that civil servants were responsible.

One edit saw a paragraph on the aftermath of the crush, in which 96 Liverpool football fans died, altered so it ended by saying 'Blame Liverpool fans'. A government statement said it was most likely that the comments were posted by "one or two individuals in 2009 and 2012".

Labour MP Andy Burnham, the former Culture, Media and Sport Secretary and a key figure in helping the families of victims gain access to previously classified documents on the disaster, has been appointed to lead the investigation.

The Cabinet Office has said it is "exhausting every option" in a bid to find the culprits, while Mr Burnham called for those responsible to be "held accountable".

Wikipedia condemns comments

Wikipedia is famously open to anyone wishing to edit any page, but it has always taken a firm stance on removing material posted by 'trolls' as soon as it is made aware of such content.

Wikimedia UK chief executive Jon Davies said the organisation was "appalled" by what had happened.

The website's user guidelines state: "Every user is expected to interact with others civilly, calmly, and in a spirit of cooperation. Do not insult, harass, or intimidate those with whom you have a disagreement."

Adrian Mursec, head of development at theEword, said: "With these malicious edits occurring some time ago, finding the culprits is certain to be a difficult task. However, the government is clearly taking this situation very seriously, and is well aware of the strength of feeling surrounding the sensitive topic of Hillsborough."