German Wikipedia Feud

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File this under unintended consequences. It involves a bizarre case out of Germany over the weekend where a politician sued Germany’s Wikipedia over certain items that had been added to his biography. The politician is a member of the German parliament, and he argued that his Wikipedia bio included items he said were “false and slanderous.” He sued and a judge ordered the closure of the German portal for the Wikipedia, wikipedia.de, which was down for two days. It’s now back online.

The Wikipedia entry stated that the politician was formerly employed by the East German secret police. But this is not what he found objectionable, since that appears to be true and without question. What he found objectionable were items involving online pornography, questions about the status of his college degree and claims that he sent threatening text messages to an ex-partner.

AP reports the politician now says it was not his intention that the site to be forced to go dark, but only that the items on his bio he objected to be stricken. He withdrew his suit after the items were removed. Even though the version of the site housed in Germany was down, it was available to users who accessed another German-language version housed on U.S. servers.

I’m left wondering why the politician didn’t just edit his own pages and remove the inaccurate and offending material.

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