Wikipedia suspends edits to its ‘recession’ page: NPR

Wikipedia has locked its page to “recession” and is restricting who can edit the entry until next week. The freeze was imposed after editors made a series of revisions to the definition of “recession.”

Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images


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Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images


Wikipedia has locked its page to “recession” and is restricting who can edit the entry until next week. The freeze was imposed after editors made a series of revisions to the definition of “recession.”

Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Wikipedia has frozen edits to its page due to “recession,” ending a frenzy of changes in imports after the Biden administration insisted the U.S. economy is not in an economic downturn.

The definition of recession on the website was changed dozens of times over the course of 24 hours, in apparent response to the White House’s resistance to calling the current economy a recession.

New and unregistered users will no longer be allowed to edit the page, which is currently “semi-secure,” until August 3, according to Wikipedia.

Top Biden Administration Officials Reject Recession Talk

On Thursday, the Commerce Department reported that the economy contracted at an annual rate of 0.9% in April-June, marking the second consecutive quarter of negative GDP or gross domestic product. A consecutive decline in GDP is seen by many as an unofficial barometer of a recession.

Days before the release of the latest economic health data, President Biden had insisted that low unemployment rates, record job growth and foreign business investment indicated a strong economy.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen also avoided sticking to the R word in a recent appearance on NBC’s Meet the press. While two consecutive quarters of negative growth generally define a recession, she said, “If you create nearly 400,000 jobs a month, that’s not a recession.”

The National Bureau of Economic Research says the traditional definition of a recession is “a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy and lasting more than a few months,” a fact noted in a July 21 memo. of the White House that named the NBER as the “official recession scorer.”

A flurry of Wikipedia edits reflected the administration’s assurances

The GDP report was expected to show a negative figure. In the days leading up to the data’s release, revisions to the Wikipedia definition reflected an alignment with the Biden administration’s stance to deny a recession.

A user named “Soibangla”, whose recent edits to the page were downmodified and rejected by other users, made a significant change to the introductory paragraphs on Tuesday, adding the line: “There is no global consensus on the definition of a recession.”

It previously read: “While national definitions differ, there have been two consecutive quarters of decline in the [real gross domestic product] is often used as a practical definition of a recession.”

That language was more like the current iteration, a version currently locked to Wikipedia: “While the definition of a recession varies between different countries and scholars, two consecutive quarters of decline in the real gross domestic product (GDP) of a country) often used as a practical definition of a recession.”

Now, a disclaimer on the page warns viewers that the “recession” page may be subject to rapid updates, citing “the increased political debate in the United States.”

“An outdated version of this article has been widely circulated,” the submission said. “Check if any claims or screenshots you’ve seen match what’s currently out there.”

As with all Wikipedia pages, previous versions of the “recession” entry appear in the revision history.

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