UK Trump ban petition shows evidence of data manipulation

Firsthand evidence of data manipulation now exists from the U.K. parliamentary petitions site.

On Friday, anyone could go to the website of the "UK Government and Parliament" and look at the infamous petition to "Block Donald J Trump from UK entry."

As of Friday morning, at about 10:30 am Central Standard Time (CST), the raw data file (.json format) could be downloaded from the "Block Donald J Trump from UK entry" petition website.  At that time, the total signature count was 527,669, with the total signature count from the U.K. at just 253,966.  The sum of the individual signatures for each of the 650 MPs was 250,168.

In other words, as of Friday, less than half the purported signatories to the petition that sought to ban Trump from the U.K. were actually from the U.K. – according to the .json data file downloaded directly (and not manipulated in any form) from the U.K. Government and Parliament website.

This result was indeed unusual, as on Friday I checked a number of other major petitions on this site to see if they also had the minority of signatories coming from within the U.K.  They did not.  All other petitions looked at had >98 percent of signatures coming from the U.K.  Thus, the Trump petition was an anomalous outlier.

And now, magically, as of Saturday afternoon CST (following publication of my article questioning the data), we see that the data behind the Trump ban petition has been radically changed on the U.K. government website.  According to the current dataset, 523,230 of 550,500 total signatories (95 percent) are coming from within the U.K., and the sum of the individual signatures for each of the 650 MPs is now 515,789.

What an amazing turn of events in terms of data integrity, or lack thereof.

The U.K. government's petition website is a joke, and any data obtained therefrom should be viewed with great skepticism and as subject to potential – if not likely – manipulation.  That a major modern democracy is operated in such a form is an embarrassment.

Firsthand evidence of data manipulation now exists from the U.K. parliamentary petitions site.

On Friday, anyone could go to the website of the "UK Government and Parliament" and look at the infamous petition to "Block Donald J Trump from UK entry."

As of Friday morning, at about 10:30 am Central Standard Time (CST), the raw data file (.json format) could be downloaded from the "Block Donald J Trump from UK entry" petition website.  At that time, the total signature count was 527,669, with the total signature count from the U.K. at just 253,966.  The sum of the individual signatures for each of the 650 MPs was 250,168.

In other words, as of Friday, less than half the purported signatories to the petition that sought to ban Trump from the U.K. were actually from the U.K. – according to the .json data file downloaded directly (and not manipulated in any form) from the U.K. Government and Parliament website.

This result was indeed unusual, as on Friday I checked a number of other major petitions on this site to see if they also had the minority of signatories coming from within the U.K.  They did not.  All other petitions looked at had >98 percent of signatures coming from the U.K.  Thus, the Trump petition was an anomalous outlier.

And now, magically, as of Saturday afternoon CST (following publication of my article questioning the data), we see that the data behind the Trump ban petition has been radically changed on the U.K. government website.  According to the current dataset, 523,230 of 550,500 total signatories (95 percent) are coming from within the U.K., and the sum of the individual signatures for each of the 650 MPs is now 515,789.

What an amazing turn of events in terms of data integrity, or lack thereof.

The U.K. government's petition website is a joke, and any data obtained therefrom should be viewed with great skepticism and as subject to potential – if not likely – manipulation.  That a major modern democracy is operated in such a form is an embarrassment.