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The Wikipedia biography controversy, also known as the Seigenthaler incident, was a series of events that began in May 2005 with the anonymous posting of a hoax article in the online encyclopedia Wikipedia about John Seigenthaler, a well-known American journalist. The article falsely stated that Seigenthaler had been a suspect in the assassinations of U.S. President John F. Kennedy and Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. The then-78-year-old Seigenthaler, a friend and aide to Robert Kennedy, characterized the Wikipedia article about him as "Internet character assassination".

John Seigenthaler in October 2005

The Wikipedia biography controversy, also known as the Seigenthaler incident, was a series of events that began in May 2005 with the anonymous posting of a hoax article in the online encyclopedia Wikipedia about John Seigenthaler, a well-known American journalist. The article falsely stated that Seigenthaler had been a suspect in the assassinations of U.S. President John F. Kennedy and Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. The then-78-year-old Seigenthaler, a friend and aide to Robert Kennedy, characterized the Wikipedia article about him as "Internet character assassination".

The hoax was not discovered and corrected until September of that year, after which Seigenthaler wrote about his experience in USA Today. The incident raised questions about the reliability of Wikipedia and other websites with user-generated content that lack the legal accountability of traditional newspapers and published materials. In a December 13 interview, co-founder Jimmy Wales expressed his undiminished support for Wikipedia policy allowing articles to be edited by anonymous users – describing the participation of editors in China and Iran in terms of privacy issues – but announced plans to roll back their article creation privileges as part of a vandalism-control strategy: "...we've decided that we want to slow down...so starting in January we're preventing unregistered users from creating new pages, because so often those have to be deleted...".

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