Wikipedia Stung By Paid-For Promotional Entries

By Gerald Lynch on at

We all have a giggle when someone edits a Wikipedia page to say that Harry Styles was the seventh wife of Henry the VIII or some such prank, but there's now a newly uncovered dark-side to the go-to online encyclopedia. It seems some companies are paying to have favourable entries written about them, undermining the neutral accuracy the site aims to offer.

Wikipedia has already blocked or banned more than 250 accounts it believes to be writing paid-for posts, but feels there could be "several hundred" writing questionable posts. From musicians to major Silicon Valley companies, Wikipedia's investigators have uncovered numerous posts which have an overtly "flattering" or "promotional" tone for their subjects.

And promo-post writing for Wikipedia is becoming a big business. The BBC spoke to Wiki-PR, which handles 12,000 pages on Wikipedia for people and companies, preferring to call itself a "research and writing firm" rather than the "black-hat" practitioners that Wikipedia would likely brand them as. [BBC]