Who, us? No way. Shunning any notion of attempting to manipulate Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, on behalf of clients, 11 big PR firms and others in the profession have pledged to play fair with posts to the site. Cnet reports on a would-be truce between the likes of Burson-Marsteller, Ketchum, Porter Novelli, Edelman, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations and Wikipedia.
A statement from the 11 firms and other PR organizations begins, “On behalf of our firms, we recognize Wikipedia’s unique and important role as a public knowledge resource. We also acknowledge that the prior actions of some in our industry have led to a challenging relationship with the community of Wikipedia editors…”
The statement ends by noting that “A significant improvement in relations between our two communities may not occur quickly or easily, but it is our intention to do what we can to create a long-term positive change and contribute to Wikipedia’s continued success.”
Wikipedia had threatened legal action against any deceptive editing of the site. “The issue came to a head last October,” Cnet advises, “when the Wikimedia (Foundation) announced it had shut down more than 250 editing accounts as part of an investigation into an increase in paid edits on the nonprofit site by sockpuppets, or online identities used for purposes of deception…”
Cnet notes that Wikipedia itself has not yet commented on the statement by the PR firms.