Feeds

Wikimedia wants forced disclosures of paid edits

Saving you from lawsuits, not flaks from exposure

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

The Wikimedia Foundation will attempt to alter its terms of service so that users who create articles or make edits as part of their jobs or a paid engagement must disclose their affiliation.

Paid edits and articles are often considered to be astroturfing – the marketing technique of making something look like a grass roots movement when it is in fact a well-funded and co-ordinated effort. Wikimedia therefore wants disclosure of “your employer, client, and affiliation with respect to any contribution to any Wikimedia Projects for which you receive, or expect to receive, compensation.” Such disclosure should comprise:

  • a statement on your user page,
  • a statement on the talk page accompanying any paid contributions, or
  • a statement in the edit summary accompanying any paid contributions.

The Foundation's rationale for this change is that while its terms of use “already prohibit engaging in deceptive activities, including misrepresentation of affiliation, impersonation, and fraud” amendments could “ensure compliance with these obligations”.

Such regulation might even protect you the Foundation argues, as those who create or edit articles at work could conceivably find themselves the subject of legal action under “unfair competition and simple fraud statutes”.

The change to the organisation’s terms of service aren't signed, sealed and delivered. But with the Foundation's legal team planning to “ask the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees” to make the alteration, it's hard to imagine they won't go through, given Boards' liking for things that lower risk.

If the change is adopted, it should mean some fun times in vendor-land, as their marketing teams and hired hands do love to ensure that Wikipedia and other Wikimedia outlets offer the shiniest-possible view of their products and activities. Figuring out just what users with obscure names are so insistent bad behaviour was actually angelic will be fun to watch. ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
MI6 oversight report on Lee Rigby murder: US web giants offer 'safe haven for TERRORISM'
PM urged to 'prioritise issue' after Facebook hindsight find
Assange™ slumps back on Ecuador's sofa after detention appeal binned
Swedish court rules there's 'great risk' WikiLeaker will dodge prosecution
You think the CLOUD's insecure? It's BETTER than UK.GOV's DATA CENTRES
We don't even know where some of them ARE – Maude
NSA mass spying reform KILLED by US Senators
Democrats needed just TWO more votes to keep alive bill reining in some surveillance
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
The total economic impact of Druva inSync
Examining the ROI enterprises may realize by implementing inSync, as they look to improve backup and recovery of endpoint data in a cost-effective manner.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.