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CIPR Social Media Panel slams Wiki-PR for paid-for editing and administration of Wikipedia

Responding to weekend reports in the United States, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) Social Media Panel has slammed Wiki-PR for the practice of embedding paid for editors and administrators in the Wikipedia community.

As first reported by Vice’s Martin Robins, Wiki-PR offers a service to clients whereby their staff of “45 Wikipedia editors and admins help you build a page that stands up to the scrutiny of Wikipedia's community rules and guidelines”. What is being offered contravenes both the rules of the Wikipedia community, and internationally recognised guidance on working with Wikipedia published by the CIPR and the wider public relations community first published in June 2012.

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 as laid out in Wikipedia’s current policies.

The current ‘Wikipedia: Best Practice Guidance for Public Relations Professionals’ can be downloaded via the CIPR website, with an abridged version, including case studies of how to work effectively work with the Wikipedia community, due to be released before the end of 2013.

There is zero gain to be had for any public relations firms or their clients in subverting the rules of any online community. Wikipedia’s rules on editing are clear. Paid-for advocates and those with a clear conflict of interest should not directly edit Wikipedia for an article for their client or employer.

Monitoring Wikipedia pages for modifications have become a key part of managing the online reputation for any organisation, but any redress should always be sought via the community’s own workflow. We have worked with Wikimedia in the UK to advocate an approach which takes an interest in improving content on the site relating to their work, in an open and transparent manner.

In all actions a good public relations professional seeks to deal openly and honestly with the public at all times. Public relations without transparency is unprofessional, and a direct contravention of the CIPR’s code of conduct.
Stephen Waddington MCIPR, President-Elect of the CIPR, Chair of the CIPR’s Social Media Panel, and ‎European Digital and Social Media Director, Ketchum PR
Notes to editors

About Wikipedia: Best Practice Guidance for Public Relations Professionals

In June 2012, the CIPR Social Media Panel collaborated with Wikimedia UK, as well as the UK’s Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA), the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS), and the Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA), to develop and publish guidance for the public relations profession on the use of Wikipedia.

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 Stephen Waddington MCIPR; current members are: Andrew Smith MCIPR, Dan Tyte MCIPR, Gemma Griffiths MCIPR, Rachel Miller MCIPR, Matt Appleby FCIPR, Robin Wilson MCIPR, Rob Brown FCIPR, Stuart Bruce MCIPR, Russell Goldsmith MCIPR, Julio Romo MCIPR, Mark Pack MCIPR, Michelle Goodall MCIPR, Gabrielle Laine-Peters MCIPR and Simon Collister MCIPR.

About the CIPR

Founded in 1948, the CIPR is the professional body for public relations practitioners in the UK. With over 10,000 members involved in all aspects of PR, it is the largest body of its type in Europe. The CIPR advances the public relations profession in the UK by making its members accountable through a code of conduct, developing policies, representing its members and raising standards through education and training.

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Andy Ross
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