France: Wikipedia plagued by "red tape"

Designed as a universal encyclopedia, Wikipedia is increasingly being used as a digital marketing tool.

AFP - LIONEL BONAVENTURE

Text by: Dominique Desaunay Follow

4 min

Wikipedia online encyclopedia regularly faces attempts from companies and personalities who embellish the content of their page.

A manipulation of information on the encyclopedia which is growing in France, especially with the approach of regional elections.

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For several years, "Wikipedians

»Volunteers responsible for writing and verifying the veracity of information in online articles are faced with companies and personalities who wish to modify the content of their Wikipedia pages to their advantage. Called " 

redactions

 ", in reference to a term inherited from the paper press, when state censorship, in the past, covered certain articles with black ink, these practices are however formally prohibited by the charter of use of the encyclopedia in line.

It is in a way the price of success for Wikipedia, which represents an area of ​​influence for political decision-makers. The online encyclopedia, which has risen to fifth place among the most visited sites in the world, is increasingly whetting the ferocious appetites of French politicians. The platform is currently facing an avalanche of modifications on the pages of the candidates for the next

regional elections

, specifies Rémy Gerbet, operational delegate in

France of Wikimedia

, the association responsible for administering the technological and editorial developments of the online encyclopedia. .

Almost a third of the pages devoted to the candidates for the regional ones on Wikipedia have been" redacted ", he

explains.

These digital vandalism practices can be coordinated or sponsored by the candidates' communications teams.

But sometimes, they originate from the initiatives of activists who think they are doing well, and which ultimately damage the image of the candidate.

 "

Several sanctioning tools

To fight against this "redaction", Wikipedia has " 

several tools,

specifies Rémy Gerbet, 

such as real-time and automatic monitoring of page changes. Others allow encyclopedia contributors to establish a follow-up list on topics of interest to them. For example, follow all the pages devoted to the Normandy region and thus see those of the candidate Hervé Morin who has been the subject of attempts to embellish his pages.

 "

What if Wikipedia cannot come to an agreement with the authors of the redaction?

“ 

Wikipedia's sanction will be to block the possibility of writing articles for the encyclopedia for those people who are guilty of this kind of action,”

replies Rémy Gerbet.

Remember that Wikipedia is a fragile collective treasure, so please avoid vandalizing the pages of the online encyclopedia to promote your favorite candidate or your favorite culinary dish!

 "

"

Internet reputation professionals

"

Politicians aren't the only ones redacting Wikipedia pages.

Big companies, brands and big names, too, are abusing these loathsome changes that amount to

vandalism

.

Some agencies specializing in the reputation of companies on the Internet even offer to transform Wikipedia pages for a price ranging from 1,000 to 5,000 euros.

Internet reputation professionals

” who pose as voluntary contributors and offer to discreetly groom the image of their clients on Wikipedia.

Some agencies also sell their services to tarnish the online reputation of these companies' competitors, forgetting in passing that Wikipedia was never designed as a digital marketing tool, but rather as a universal encyclopedia that has become the benchmark in twenty years. absolute knowledge shared by all.

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