Wikipedia has finally had enough with a public relations company it accuses of hiring fake editors to alter articles on the world’s largest encyclopedia in its clients’ favor.
So Wikimedia, Wikipedia’s parent company, has sent a public cease and desist letter to Wiki-PR, threatening to “take any necessary legal action.”
Despite its name, Wiki-PR has no relation to Wikimedia. That in fact belies the site’s biggest complaint: That the firm blurs the line between those legions of Wikipedia editors who spend hours trying to make the site objective and truthful, and a public relations firm that wants to make a buck by altering articles to make its clients look better.
Clients who hire Wiki-PR have previously told the Daily Dot that they were unsatisfied with their service. Their company pages would go down after a Wikipedia editor discovered it and deleted it for not being newsworthy, they said, and though Wiki-PR would promise to have it right back up, that often wasn’t the case.
Soon after news broke of Wiki-PR’s practices—often referred to as “sockpuppetry”— Wikimedia released a statement condemning the firm’s actions. On October 25, it formally banned “anyone who derives financial benefit from editing the English Wikipedia on behalf of Wiki-PR.com or its founders.”
But it appears that message didn’t take. Wikimedia took another stepTuesday, having its chief lawyer send a cease and desist letter and publishing that letter on its site. It states, in part:
Further, it adds, Wiki-PR hasn’t responded to two previous letters charging that it infringes on Wikipedia’s trademark.
Wikimedia gave Wiki-PR until Friday to acknowledge the cease and desist, with the clear implication it plans to press charges if the site doesn’t comply.
Illustration by Jason Reed