If you happened to open a Wikipedia page around 10 a.m ET on Monday, chances are you were greeted by the swastika symbol with a red background filling the entire page which might have shocked you. Well, you’re not alone as many users seem to have faced the same unsettling issue. It seems like Wikipedia was the target of a vandal recently which edited the page’s template to display a Nazi flag.
Many people reported the issue on social media and said that when they tried to open different Wikipedia pages of actors, TV shows or politicians, instead of seeing their information displayed as it normally is, they saw a big Nazi symbol in the middle with a red background. It seemed like all other text and images had been replaced with just the swastika symbol in sight. This incident didn’t last long and only affected the website for a short period of time but it was enough to leave many people dumbfounded.
The incident has been described as “particularly vile” by the Wikipedia Foundation, which runs Wikipedia and says that the volunteer administration was able to reverse the vandalism within five minutes of it occurring on the website. “In the spirit of open editing and assuming good faith, this is a step rarely taken with any areas of Wikipedia unless an incident such as this warrants it,” said a spokeswoman for Wikimedia. The account behind this incident has been blocked for violating a number of Wikipedia policies and would be further investigated to see if stricter action is required against the culprit.
This isn’t the first time that Wikipedia has fell prey to different editing hoaxes because of its open-source nature which allows anyone to edit the page as they wish. This is the reason that many different methods and tools are utilized to catch these types of vandalism acts and they are immediately restored to their original state. “Over the years, a number of tools and processes have been developed to quickly spot and revert vandalism on the site,” said the Wikimedia spokeswoman. Let’s hope there isn’t another Nazi inspired vandalism on the website again.