Wikipedia turns 20 (4/4): the oil spill of underground advertisers


In Wikipedia, it happens that we find articles, on people or companies, with a strangely laudatory tone, looking like an advertising brochure or a company newspaper. These articles are frequently adorned with a banner, added by contributors, which warns: “The tone of this article is too promotional or advertising. “

Warning banner in Wikipedia in French.

The success of Wikipedia has caused businesses and institutions to monitor their article, which is understandable. But some have crossed a yellow line by trying to make a page in their glory, or at least to remove the stains on their reputation: in 2007 already, a student showed that the manufacturer of electronic voting machines Diebold had cut 15 paragraphs from “his” article, including technical criticism and support for candidate Bush.

Katherine Maher, by Paula Forteza: “She’s the anti-Mark Zuckerberg”

Wikipedians have to deal with all kinds of promotional additions, sometimes hollow in addition:

  • “The General Council promotes the conditions for better development of our young people” (article on the Gironde departmental council).
  • “A family story: five generations of enthusiasts have followed one another” (article on a brewery).
  • “This certification highlights the company’s expertise in its sector of activity” (article on a company of opticians).

“Unintentional comic”

In 2018, Comics (pseu

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