Sunday, September 11, 2016

2016-09-11: Web Archiving in Popular Media

At the Old Dominion University Web Science and Digital Libraries Research Group we have been studying web archiving for a long time.  In the past few years, we have noticed a significant uptick in the use of web archives in mainstream media, both to support stories and as the subject.  This post presents articles from the popular media that use web archive holdings (mementos) as evidence and concludes with articles about web archives.

Articles that Reference Web Archives

'Fake News' And How The Washington Post Rewrote Its Story On Russian Hacking Of The Power Grid

What the Washington Post's rush to be the first to report on Russian hackers breaching the US power grid teaches us about how "breaking news" can all too often become "fake news" when we over-trust government sources and fail to verify facts. uses an Internet Archive memento as evidence that the Washington Post edited an article with updated information instead of performing proper research prior to publication.
2016-12-31 03:06:08
Now-modified Washington Post web page.

Articles that Reference Web Archives

2016-10-04 • GOP Says Pence Won the VP Debate-Hours Before It Starts

The Republican National Committee may have added a few fortune tellers to its staff. Either that, or the RNC just published all its post-debate spin by accident hours before the debate even began. Yeah, we're going to go ahead and say it was the second one. Around 7 pm ET, two hours before Gov. uses an Internet Archive memento as evidence that the Republican Party published its declaration that Pence won the vice presidential candidate hours before the debate started.
2016-10-04 23:06:52
Now-deleted GOP web page declaring Pence the winner.

Tabloid Facing $100 Million Lawsuit Pulls Michael Jackson Abuse Story

2016-09-06 • Radar Online is known for a lot of things in the tabloid world, but factual reporting apparently isn't one of them. We first reported back in June a laundry list of items supposedly found in Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department back in 2003.
This article uses an Internet Archive memento as evidence that a tabloid (Radar Online) might be attempting to "bury this piece to avoid a huge payout…".
2016-06-21 19:36:45
PDF of Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department report.
Warning: although redacted, the photographs in this report are unsuitable for children and most workplaces.

Clinton's Website Deleted Statement Saying Rape Victims Have the 'Right to Be Believed'

2016-08-15 • Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign has deleted a statement on its website that said that all rape victims have the "right to be believed." BuzzFeed reported Sunday that the change was ma
This article uses a memento from to show that "right to be believed" was removed from Hillary Clinton's speech.
2015-11-30 01:45:14
Campus sexual assault page from Hillary Clinton's website.

2016-08-23 • The Epidemic Archives of the Future Will Be Born Digital

Colorful AIDS education posters from the 1980s. Black-and-white photos of mid-20th-century anatomy lessons for midwives. Eighteenth-century instructions for the administration of patent medicines. While a paper archival collection in the U.S. National Library of Medicine might contain items like these-handwritten or typed journals, correspondence, educational materials, and official reports, some digitized many years after their creation-the next generation of health information lives online.
This article describes how a National Library of Medicine (NLM) team uses the Archive-It web archive to collect webpages, blog posts, and social media streams to capture online health information generated during health crises.

Panic Mode: Khizr Khan Deletes Law Firm Website that Specialized in Muslim Immigration - Breitbart

2016-08-02 • This development is significant, as his website proved – as Breitbart News and others have reported – that he financially benefits from unfettered pay-to-play Muslim migration into America. A snapshot of his now deleted website, as captured by the Wayback Machine which takes snapshots archiving various websites on the Internet, shows that as a lawyer he engages in procurement of EB5 immigration visas and other "Related Immigration Services."
This article uses Internet Archive mementos to bolster the claim that Khizr Khan deleted his website (currently accessible – 2016-09-04) from the Internet to avoid publicizing that he financially benefits from Muslim migration to America.
2016-08-02 12:14:11
Kahn's E2, EB5 Immigration Services page, no longer present on Kahn's website.
The deletion of the Kahn law firm website may have been an administrative oversight.  The memento below shows GoDaddy offering the domain name for sale.
2016-08-04 18:40:47
GoDaddy landing page for abandoned domains.

Vote Leave wipes homepage after Brexit result

2016-06-27 • In the wake of the EU referendum, the Vote Leave campaign has wiped its homepage. Visitors to the site are now greeted by the above image. The only active links are to the campaign's Privacy Policy and contact details.
This article shows that the UK Vote Leaves deleted speeches can still be found in the Internet Archive.
2016-06-27 12:35:31
GoDaddy landing page for abandoned domains. foreign_secretary_getting_ the_facts_clear_on_turkey

Melania Trump's Website, Biography Have Disappeared From The Internet

2016-07-28 • The professional website of Melania Trump, wife of the Republican presidential nominee, has apparently been deleted from the internet as of Wednesday afternoon. The disappearance of Trump's elaborate website comes just days after news outlets, including The Huffington Post, raised serious questions about whether she actually earned an undergraduate degree in architecture from the University of Ljubljana, which is in Trump's native Slovenia.
Just days after news outlets raised questions about the veracity of Melania Trump's undergraduate degree, her website and biography were taken down.  However, the Internet archive had already captured her website over 250 times and her biography page 150 times.

2013-04-04 07:12:55

Melania Trump's undergraduate degree claim

Web evidence points to pro-Russia rebels in downing of MH17 (+video)

2014-07-14 • Igor Girkin, a Ukrainian separatist leader also known as Strelkov, claimed responsibility on a popular Russian social-networking site for the downing of what he thought was a Ukrainian military transport plane shortly before reports that Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 had crashed near the rebel held Ukrainian city of Donetsk.
This article uses Internet Archive mementos of a Ukrainian separatist leader's (Igor Girkin) social media page as evidence that the separatists shot down Malaysian Airlines flight MH17.  The mementos below show the changes in Girkin's social media page as the news about MH17 unfolded.
2014-07-17 15:22:22
Shoot down claim of a Ukrainian AN-26 military transport.
2014-07-17 16:10:58
Both the original shoot down claim and denial of responsibility.
2014-07-17 16:56:38
Shoot down claim removed; denial of responsibility remains.

2013-11-21: The Conservative Party Speeches and Why We Need Multiple Web Archives

2013-11-21 • @Conservatives put speeches in Streisand's house: @UKWebArchive: via @lljohnston @hhockx - Michael L. Nelson (@phonedude_mln)November 13, 2013 Circulating the web last week the story of the UK's Conservative Party (aka the " Tories") removing speeches from their website (see Note 1 below).
This blog post discusses the UK Conservative Party's attempt to delete history by removing old speeches from their website.  The party also tried blocking display of the speeches using robots.txt.  However, as the post points out, several archives already had copies.

David Cameron 2009 speech returned a 404 (not found) on 2013-11-21.
2013-01-02 is one of several archives with copies of the Conservative Party's speeches.

Online Retailer Says If You Give It A Negative Review It Can Fine You $3,500

2013-11-13 • Lots of quasi-legal action has been taken over negative reviews left by customers at sites like Ripoff Report and Yelp. Usually, it takes the form of post-review threats about defamation and libel. Every so often, though, a company will make proactive...
The article discusses a law suit brought by against a customer who left negative feedback.  The Internet Archive memento cited in the article has since been excluded (probably using robots.txt):
2013-08-17 14:44:17
Kleargear Terms of Use has been excluded from the Internet Archive.
2013-08-17 14:44:17
Fortunately, has a copy.

Articles about Web Archives

Web archives have proven their use in journalism, law, and other research areas to the point that the New Yorker, Forbes, The Atlantic, U.S. News, and others have all published insightful articles recently.

2016-08-17 • U.S. News
Wayback Machine Won’t Censor Archive for Taste, Director Says After Olympics Article Scrubbed

Internet Archive removed article for safety of Olympians.
Screenshot of Forbes "Reimagining Libraries in the Digital Era" article.
2016-03-19 Forbes
Reimagining Libraries In The Digital Era

Lessons From Data Mining The Internet Archive.
Screenshot of New Yorker "Cobweb" article.
2015-01-26 New Yorker
The Cobweb

Can the Internet be archived?
Screenshot of The Atlantic "Raiders of the Lost Web" article.
2015-10-14 • The Atlantic
Raiders of the Lost Web
If a Pulitzer-finalist 34-part series of investigative journalism can vanish from the web, anything can.

These lists of articles are just a beginning and will be expanded as new articles are discovered. Contributions and suggestions are welcome. Please email them to or tweet them to @galsondor with hashtag #mementoinmedia.

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