The CIPR Social Media Panel has criticised Wonga following reports which claim the much debated pay day loans service had been editing its own Wikipedia page to take out negative criticism.
Wonga admitted to making direct edits to remove material from the Wikipedia entry about the company, which goes against the practical advice and principles of openness and transparency detailed in guidance published by the CIPR Social Media Panel, and contravenes aspects of the CIPR Code of Conduct.
The guidance, which the CIPR Social Media Panel collaborated with Wikimedia UK to develop, includes the key recommendation that public relations professionals should not directly edit Wikipedia pages relating to their organisation or brand but should instead suggest amendments via the well established process described in Wikipedia policy.
Commenting on the issue Rob Brown chair of the CIPR’s Social Media Panel said: “The CIPR has shown leadership by working with Wikimedia UK this year to develop clear guidelines on editing Wikipedia for the PR industry and anyone involved in communications. This is about having the right skillset to do your job but it is also about ethical practice.”
Best practice guidance from the CIPR Social Media Panel can be downloaded via the CIPR website.