BBC ‘punks’ Wikipedia?

Saw this on Slashdot:

An article over at BoingBoing discusses what appears to be a viral marketing ploy appearing in a Wikipedia entry. Quote: “Someone has apparently abused collaborative reference site Wikipedia in a viral marketing campaign for a BBC online alternate reality game.

The BoingBoing article states:

…In fairness, it is also possible for any individual unaffiliated with the BBC (or an employee acting without network approval) to create a Wikipedia entry on their own. Comments on the Wikipedia “talk” page for this entry, however, suggest that a related entry for a fictional band called “Boy*d Upp” were added from someone operating inside the BBC’s network.

So, some questions: is a person (or persons) acting on behalf of the BBC responsible? What will happen to the entry, if it is indeed a bogus publicity entry? How often does this sort of thing happen?

One thing I do know: Wikipedia tends to be hastily self-correcting. Bogus or erroneous information of any kind doesn’t tend to last long there.

Further updates state that:

The corresponding discussion page now includes mea culpas from persons responsible for two of the bogus entries. One of them, “Jon_Hawk,” identifies himself as someone unaffiliated with the BBC who just digs the game.

Please do not use my edits to slander the BBC. If this were part of a viral campaign, the grammar of the article would almost certainly be better. I suspect the article would have been created at the same time as the game started also. Jamie Kane was mentioned on several blogs on Friday – did not one of you consider it was created by someone who reads such things? I’m nothing more than a student. I’m sincerely apologetic for purposefully omitting the true nature of Jamie Kane.

But the other, “MattC,” identifies himself as a BBC employee:

I created the Boy*D_Upp page from inside the BBC network on Friday evening after stumbling across the Jamie Kane entry linked from the Pop Justice forums. My action was in no way part of an orchestrated marketing campaign on behalf of the Jamie Kane project team nor was it intended for my page to be attributed to the BBC, which has been implied. It was nothing more than common garden vandalism for which I am sorry.

I take two things from this. One: traditional media organisations need to be careful how they use the new methods wikis and blogs present to promote their own output, as credibility can be lost fast. Secondly: community sites such as these are very quick to spot spamming, marketing and suchlike, and are very quick to stamp down on it.

Over on Palimpsest we have had a couple of issues with authors falsely reviewing their own work. We have come to be pretty good at spotting this sort of thing, and once exposed, these people tend to disappear very quickly. Those who populate the ‘net are pretty savvy people, it would appear.

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