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London,
21
November
2012

CIPR Social Media Panel criticises Wonga for directly editing Wikipedia entry

Responding to reports in yesterday’s Guardian, the CIPR Social Media Panel has criticised Wonga for the practice of editing the Wikipedia entry about the company.

Wonga has 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.

In June 2012, the CIPR Social Media Panel collaborated with Wikimedia UK to develop and publish guidance for the public relations profession on the use of Wikipedia. The guidance 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.

Best practice guidance from the CIPR Social Media Panel can be downloaded via the CIPR website.

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.
Rob Brown FCIPR, CIPR Social Media Panel Chair
Notes to editors

About the CIPR Social Media Panel

Founded in April 2012, the CIPR Social Media Panel, made up solely of CIPR members, has had a significant input into the CIPR's policy guidance, education and training. Since its establishment, the panel has produced Social Media Best Practice and Measurement Guidance for the profession, as well as a specific piece of guidance for PR Professionals on Wikipedia. In July 2012, the panel also collaborated with other social media leaders to publish Share This: The Social Media Handbook for PR Professionals.

The panel is chaired by Rob Brown FCIPR; current members are: Katy Howell MCIPR, Andrew Smith MCIPR, Gemma Griffiths MCIPR, Becky McMichael MCIPR, Robin Wilson MCIPR, Stephen Waddington MCIPR, Stuart Bruce MCIPR, Russell Goldsmith MCIPR, Julio Romo MCIPR, Philip Sheldrake MCIPR, Mark Pack MCIPR, Michelle Goodall MCIPR, Gabrielle Laine-Peters MCIPR and Simon Collister MCIPR.

About Share This: The Social Media Handbook for PR Professionals

Published in July 2012, Share This includes insights and practical guidance on how professional communicators can utilise social media and networks and platforms to engage directly in conversation with audiences. Already a ‘bestseller,’ having shipped over 2,000 copies, it is available to purchase in hardcopy, eBook and Kindle format, from Amazon and Wiley.com. Chapter One, An Introduction to Social Networks by Katy Howell, is available to download in PDF format from the CIPR website.

Share This was edited by Stephen Waddington with contributions from: Katy Howell, Simon Sanders, Andrew Smith, Helen Nowicka, Gemma Griffiths, Becky McMichael, Robin Wilson, Alex Lacey, Matt Appleby, Dan Tyte, Stephen Waddington, Stuart Bruce, Rob Brown, Russell Goldsmith, Adam Parker, Julio Romo, Philip Sheldrake, Richard Bagnall, Daljit Bhurji, Richard Bailey, Rachel Miller, Mark Pack, and Simon Collister.

About Wikimedia UK

The Wikimedia chapter covering the United Kingdom. The organisation exists to help collect, develop and distribute freely licensed knowledge and other educational, cultural and historic material. It does this by bringing the Wikimedia community in the UK together, and by building links with UK-based cultural institutions, universities, charities and other bodies. It also represents UK-based Wikimedians in the context of the Wikimedia Foundation and the global Wikimedia movement.

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