Editing your own entry on Wikipedia is usually the province of vain celebrities keen for some good PR. But a new website has uncovered dozens of companies that have been editing the site in order to improve their public image. The Wikipedia Scanner, which trawls the backwaters of the popular online encyclopedia, has unearthed a catalog of organizations massaging entries, including the CIA and the Labour party. Workers operating on CIA computers have been spotted editing entries including the biography of former presidents Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon, while unnamed individuals inside the Vatican have worked on entries about Catholic saints - and Sinn FÃ©in leader Gerry Adams.
But the biggest culprit that the Scanner claims to have discovered is Diebold, a supplier of voting machines, which it says has made huge alterations to entries about its involvement in the controversial "hanging chad" election in the US in 2000. The company was criticized in the wake of the disputed results, but edits made by its employees on Wikipedia have included the removal of 15 paragraphs detailing the allegations.