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Seriously Unfunny Internet Hoax Mystery Solved
What started as a joke on a colleague has ended without any laughter --some serious questions being raised about the future of Internet posting regulations. John Seigenthaler Sr., one of the founders of USA Today and a former assistant attorney general, reportedly received a handwritten apology from the man who anonymously posted a false biography of him on the Internet encyclopedia Wikipedia that said Seigenthaler was implicated in the assasinations of Robert F. Kennedy and John F. Kennedy. John Chase, the perpetrator, has since resigned from his position, from where he posted the "scurrilous text" that ran on the site for months before being removed.Chase has allegedly said the bio was a joke on a coworker. Seigenthaler, who has said he will not pursue legal action against Chase, tried to have the biography removed to no avail for many weeks. Finally, it appears with pressure mounting as Seigenthaler visited media outlets to publicize the story, Wikipedia pulled the incorrect content.
The fallout from the hoax has only just begun. Wikipedia has changedits posting policy to require that authors register. That has been chided by many as a weak response. Seigenthaler, who doesn't support tighter restrictions on Internet posting, suspects that this incident will lead to more regulation. And Chase, who is now jobless, now has his own entry on Wikipedia which describes him accurately as a "Wikipedia Hoaxer."
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