According to CNET, Wikipedia editors struggled with whether or not to allow unverified reports of Michael Jackson’s death to appear on his wiki yesterday; meanwhile, users kept changing and tweaking the information, complicating matters further. At around 6:15 p.m., the site appeared to be temporarily overloaded. Once the LA Times had confirmed Jackson’s death, the article was put on lockdown.
Why do we care? Like him or not, Michael Jackson is a cultural touchstone for the blogger generation. (Need proof? Flavorpill shutterbug Nate “Igor” Smith got this beauty last night.) He’s also one of the first major pop culture icons we’ve lost since the world became so virtually connected, allowing citizens to pass along information faster than news outlets could confirm stories.
We first heard the news on Twitter. On our way out the door last night, the singer’s death was not yet confirmed. In our ride down in the elevator, a woman received a text from a friend in Egypt who said it was already being reported by news outlets there. Wikipedia’s conundrum brings up all kinds of interesting points about journalistic responsibility and authority.
A brief but interesting video history of Michael Jackson’s Wikipedia page yesterday below.