It has recently been uncovered that hundreds of accounts have been set up on Wikipedia to create and edit pages to contain biased and promotional material. Wikipedia editors have expressed their shock at this ‘new’ information. The rest of us, however, are not surprised in the least.
The majority want to comply by the rules of Wikipedia, in the interest of this brilliant collective global information source, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be those few who want to use it for their own gains. There will always be this issue with a site in which anyone can come along and edit a post. It is Wikipedia’s brilliance as well as flaw.
There was a Dispatches documentary that aired just a couple of months ago uncovering the vast amounts of fake accounts that plague Facebook and Twitter, and the people paid pennies to like well-known, seemingly reputable brands.
We all know this goes on, and it is increasingly hard to combat. Damage to a company’s reputation is probably the main deterrent. So accusations of this activity really need to be investigated. But as an individual, there is something we can do – take ‘likes’ and ‘followers’ and anything written on the internet, books or any media with a pinch of salt.
As the saying goes, “don’t believe everything you read”.