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A "screen shot" of a Facebook page alleging to be for Alvirne High School, taken 8:45 a.m. Monday, May 14. By noon the picture of Hitler was replaced with a general school icon.
Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Picture of Hitler put on Alvirne High School Facebook page

HUDSON – Pranksters used easily accessible Facebook and Wikipedia pages to link Alvirne High School with Adolf Hitler on Monday.

For most of Monday morning, the Nazi dictator was the profile picture for an unofficial Facebook page that contains information about the high school. The school has no official Facebook site.

“We have gotten emails from alumni who are concerned, and phone calls,” principal Bryan Lane said Monday morning, while the photo was still visible. “We are attempting to contact both Facebook and Wikipedia about this. We’re going to do what we can do, and are contacting other authorities.”

The site is what Facebook calls a “community page,” a category that Facebook says is “not affiliated with or endorsed by anybody associated with the topic.” Such pages can be created by almost with any Facebook account.

By noon Monday, the picture of Hitler was replaced by a generic icon representing a school. The article’s only text was the Wikipedia article about the school.

That same Hitler photo was placed on Alvirne’s Wikipedia page by an anonymous account just after 11 p.m. Sunday . Anybody can edit any Wikipedia article that is unprotected, as the Alvirne article is.

The Hitler photo, labeled “school mascot,” was placed several times and removed almost immediately by other editors every time. In less than an hour after the vandalism began, the anonymous account was blocked from doing any more Wikipedia editing.