[Wikimediaindia-l] Bhagat Singh death controversy , rumours , Wikipedia article , new articles & more

CherianTinu Abraham tinucherian at gmail.com
Wed Feb 16 06:33:09 UTC 2011

             Bhagat Singh was an Indian freedom fighter, considered to be
one of the most influential revolutionaries of the Indian independence
movement. Interestingly rumour smses and forwarded emails
started circulating on Feb 14 ( also happens to be Valentine's Day) on
similar lines like
            *"On 14th February 1931, Lahore, in morning time, the legendary
Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, & Sukhdev were hanged to their deaths. But we only
celebrateValentine Day. Let’s pass this message."*
      Very soon these rumours moved on social media sites like Twitter &
Facebook. And it was one of the trending topics on Twitter India all day.

Curious enough, the first change on the Wikipedia article on Bhagat Singh
was on 13 feb, 23:13 hours [1], even before this news started circulating.

People kept on changing and reverting it between Feb 14, 1931 and March 23
as his death date [2]. Even a regular user changed it to Feb 14 once.

It was even tweeted by an Exective Director of IBN7 and later retweeted by
Actor Madhaven ( tweeted by somebody else)

Blogs on this also started coming up [3]

By noon, I saw this on twitter and fully protected it temporarily. [4] At
that time, i believe there were more than 30+ changes on death date.

I began to check for sources & later I added it to the Wikipedia article
[5] with references to reliable sources like history artcles of gov.in

Later , I reduced the protection of the page to semi-protection  for a week.

These kinds of sensational vandalism always occurs, but I am sharing this as
an example of how those monitoring social media can watch out for similar
activities on Wikipedia.
When I tweeted that March 23 is the actual date , one person replied that
similar to "yes, why the confusion?.. Wikipedia says so. " . It also
explains how people look upon Wikipedia as a reliable source of

I had similar examples when there was rumors of the death of leader like YSR
and Jyothi Basu. Social media "killed" Jyothi Basu days before his actual
death and I had to semi protect the page similarly to prevent the next day
newspaper saying "Wikipedia killed Jyothi Basu". :)

There were also some new reports on the Bhagat Singh controversy last 2days.

Tinu Cherian

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Bhagat_Singh&action=history
[3] http://nimbupani.us/2011/02/why-bhagat-singh-is-trending-on-twitter-14th-feb/




[7] The Hindu :  Bhagat Singh page ‘vandalised' on Wikipedia
     IBN Live :"Twitter blooper: Bhagat Singh hanged on V-Day"

     Mid-Day : " An online Valentine's Day blooper "

     Bangalore Mirror : "  Bangalore Mirror: Bhagat Singh gets new death
anniversary on Twitter "
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