wikipedia vandals list paul ryan as an invertebrate, and other acts of online protest
It's the latest protest tool for a new generation.
Donald Trump's inauguration has spurred a creative new resistance movement, powered by the reach of social media. New activism tools abound, from change.org to Tiny Letters. But some young activists are coloring outside the lines with Wikipedia vandalism posts that comically lambast the new administration.
Wiki-vandalism is nothing new, with nerdfighters worldwide re-writing the crowd-sourced encyclopedia of record to read that Hemingway wrote Spot the Dog, for example. But the current political climate, with headlines straight out of The Onion, has brought the jokes to a new level.
As "alternative facts" and fake news continue to surface, these online vigilantes voice their protest through hacking Wikipedia pages in order to sound off on the news. Targets of Wikipedia vandalism have included President Donald Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, and most recently Acting Attorney General Dana Boente. Ryan was re-classified as an invertebrate, alongside the jellyfish and the velvet worm.
Tony, also known as @sadvil, is among these online activists dedicated to bringing awareness to the problem the country is facing.
"In the fake news era, what we're really seeing is a decentralization -- a democratization -- of media and information, which the internet has so long promised. Unfortunately, driven by corporatist news media, this democratization has proven in so many ways noxious," says Tony. "Editing Wikipedia is a simple way of drawing attention to this irony, raising awareness of the need for vigilance, and re-seizing a narrative base that has largely abandoned the common person."
While simple, this act of resistance is effective. The edits often go viral, spreading across various social media platforms. This is valuable since the site often overwrites these edits within minutes, except in the case of House Press Secretary Sean Spicer who cannot catch a break.
To these activists, Wikipedia vandalism is about using the wide-reaching web in order to reveal truths and spread awareness, or just to poke holes in the absurdity of it all.
Text Shelby Black