CIPR tells members not to edit clients' Wikipedia pages

The CIPR has called for all members to stop editing clients' Wikipedia pages.

No editing: Wikipedia (Rafal Olechowski)
No editing: Wikipedia (Rafal Olechowski)

The PR body has made the recommendation after consultation with Wikipedia members and PROs, following high profile media revelations about Bell Pottinger and Portland editing clients’ pages.

The ruling is in the body’s new Wikipedia guidance for PROs, and has been backed by the PRCA, Canadian PR Society and the PR Institute of Australia.

The guidance states that PROs should not directly edit Wikipedia pages relating to their organisation or a client, but should instead suggest amendments to Wikipedia editors.

CIPR CEO Jane Wilson said: 'The main theme of the guidance is quite simple – where there is a clear conflict of interest created by the relationship between the PR professional and the subject of the Wikipedia edit, such as a client or employer, they should not directly edit.

'This guidance is aimed at helping PR practitioners reach a better understanding of how to properly engage with one the most visited sources of information on the internet and clearly lays out the process through which PR people can positively contribute to the encyclopaedia.'

During the consultation period, the guidance received more than 160 direct edits and more than 120 contributions to the discussion page.

The extra content added to the guidance during the consultation period included ‘how to understand the complaints system’, ‘using good judgement’ and ‘handling conflict of interest’.

There is also a dos and don’ts section that provides PROs with details on watchlists and restrictions on the number of people per organisation that maintain a relationship with a Wikipedia editor.

To read the full guidance click here

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