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How PR Subverts Wikipedia

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    Last Updated: October 20, 2013


    Daniel_Stuckey writes “We all know that Wikipedia can be subverted—it’s an inevitability of an open platform that some people will seek to abuse it, whether to gain some advantage or just for a laugh. Fortunately, the Wikipedia community has strong mechanisms in place to deal with this, from the famous cry of [citation needed] to the rigorous checks and standards put in place by its hierarchy of editors and admins. In recent months though, Insiders have encountered something altogether more worrying: a concerted attack on the very fabric of Wikipedia by PR companies that have subverted the online encyclopedia’s editing hierarchy to alter articles on a massive scale—perhaps tens of thousands of them. Wikipedia is the world’s most popular source of cultural, historical, and scientific knowledge—if their fears are correct, its all-important credibility could be on the line… Adam Masonbrink, a founder and Vice-President of Sales at Wiki-PR, boasts of new clients including Priceline and Viacom. Viacom didn’t respond … but Priceline — a NASDAQ listed firm with over 5,000 employees and William Shatner as their official spokesman — did. Sadly, Priceline didn’t choose to respond to us via Captain Kirk; instead Leslie Cafferty, vice president of corporate communications and public relations, admitted, ‘We are using them to help us get all of our brands a presence because I don’t have the resources internally to otherwise manage.’”

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