Things Wal-Mart and Maldives have in common

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Nothing drives home the point more than the recent case of Wikipedia's new WikiScanner. Created by a California Institute of Technology graduate student studying computer science, the scanner can trace an edited Wiki entry to the Internet protocol address of the computer network where the editing change originated. Thus, we find that a Wiki entry on the Exxon Valdez oil spill, which once listed statistics on the number of species killed by the catastrophe, was edited to erase those numbers. Worse, the entry tried to turn the oil spill into a positive environmental event by adding: "Six of the largest [salmon] harvests in history were recorded in the decade immediately following the spill."

Someone with an e-mail address at Wal-Mart changed "Wages at Wal-Mart are about 20 percent less than other retail stores" to "The average wage at Wal-Mart is almost double the federal minimum wage." A person traced back to PepsiCo removed several paragraphs about the health effects of drinking the soda. A State Farm IP address deleted references to lawsuits related to Hurricane Katrina. And the PR firm Hill & Knowlton, hired by the "repressive government of the Maldives, removed information on the lack of independent news outlets, election rigging and the imprisonment of political activists in the Maldives," the scanner report says.


-Wiki Sleuthing Uncovers PR Blunders

2 Comments

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This page contains a single entry by Paul published on September 18, 2007 9:08 PM.

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