Here is an update sent yesterday from the Twitter account @congressedits:
Choco Taco Wikipedia article edited anonymously by US House of Representatives http://t.co/QzECJYjf6v— congress-edits (@congressedits) July 14, 2014
Yes. This was to inform everyone that the Wikipedia page for the Choco Taco—a disappointingly brief entry, given the myriad cultural contributions made by Klondike's frozen dairy treat—had been updated. And updated from an anonymous IP address originating from, yes, the U.S. House of Representatives.
The change made? A reference to the availability of Choco Tacos in the vending machines of the Rayburn House Office Building.
The Choco Taco edit was silly, but it was also a win for @congressedits, a bot that promises to tweet "anonymous Wikipedia edits that are made from IP addresses in the U.S. Congress." The program's creator, Ed Summers, was inspired by @parliamentedits, a bot that tweets Wikipedia edits made from IPs in the British Parliament; he decided to design something similar for the United States. Something that would listen, Summers writes, "to all major language Wikipedias for anonymous edits from Congressional IP address ranges."
Call it ambient accountability. Wikipedia, after all, can serve as a kind of proxy battleground for political fights. (Remember when George W. Bush's Wiki page was updated to include the lines "Quite Simply, The Worse President In History! A Terrorist HimSelf, and a truly 'stupid' Mother F*cker who we all wish would leave this country for ever befor he starts another war and kills us all"?)