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. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Hey, Scots. Microsoft's Bing thinks you'll vote NO to independence
World's top Google-finding website calls it for the UK
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
OECD lashes out at tax avoiding globocorps' location-flipping antics
You hear that, Amazon, Google, Microsoft et al?
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
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.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.