I’ve been following the Aussie politician’s attempts to master social media and their online reputation with interest and some amusement. The latest news is the revelation that Australian governments have been editing Wikipedia to remove potentially damaging details to the government.
The new Wikiscanner website tracks the digital fingerprint of anyone who edits the online encyclopedia, which can be added to or edited by anyone. Computers from the federal government, the NSW state government and the department of defence have been found to have made many changes to Wikipedia.
It doesn’t strike me as too wrong to remove defamatory remarks or factual errors from Wikipedia – this website is so popular that almost any keyword in a search engine will bring up a Wikipedia result near the top and in fact, scanning Wikipedia regularly should be a part of any company’s online reputation management.
But changing the facts or adding embarrassing random sentences makes you look a little foolish when you get caught.
Unfortunately, the governments have come out a bit red-faced after this incident, especially because some edits could be seen as ‘re-writing history,’ as the opposition leader pointed out.
Other high-profile international companies caught editing Wikipedia include the CIA and The Vatican, who have been making hundreds of ‘self serving’ edits online.
I don’t suppose anyone expected to get caught, but it just goes to show that you can never be too careful when it comes to your reputation.
It looks like we have another place to keep an eye on when we are looking at online reputation management…