This advertising campaign is particularly interesting, it appears that this
is the first time we can talk about an exploit (as is said in computer
security). It has been done once so it can be done again.

What worries me here is that an advertising campaign like this one, mixing
TV advertising and content editing on Wikipedia is not a last minute thing,
done on the spur of the moment. IMHA, the agency responsible for these ads
must have experienced wikipedians working for them. These guys know how the
community usually reacts. There is a lot of money involved and they know
that they will have to get it right the first time the ads are aired.

This looks like a bait and trick, and we were all fooled by it (by we, I
mean the wikipedia community of editors). The bait was the minor
grammatical errors in the new introductory sentence. An experienced editor
got tricked into correcting these missing spaces and such, and the text
itself gets a "stamp of approval", and the edit done by a new account will
no longer show up as the last modification done to the article.

These paid edits were made on April 4, the article started to be vandalized
one week later, on April 11. But it looks like the campaign did not create
the expected buzz because Google reacted quickly (just under 3 hours) and
Google Home stopped reading out the Whopper article at the end of the

The damage has been done. claims to have done such a
modification on Wikipedia, to quote them "as did we, in a test yesterday".
We will probably see more of this.


On Fri, Apr 14, 2017 at 5:39 PM, Dariusz Jemielniak <>

> On Fri, Apr 14, 2017 at 5:23 AM, Gnangarra <> wrote:
> >
> > > but they didnt spam, nor did they introduce any false hoods, or remove
> > > controversial content, they just put a description of the Whopper for
> the
> > > opening sentence.
> I agree with James on this one. They "described" their product in a very
> flattering way, unnecessarily introducing marketing jargon ("known as
> America's favorite", "00% beef with no preservatives", "no fillers", "daily
> sliced" etc.). It is spam and in the future, near rather than far, we need
> to start seriously thinking how we can combat such content
> attacks/hijacking. There are some similarities to our work with
> anti-harassment, but I hope we'll be able to develop a more dedicated
> approach to this problem, that the Burger King manifestation is only a
> single example of.
> dj
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and
> wiki/Wikimedia-l
> New messages to:
> Unsubscribe:,
> <>
Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: and
New messages to:

Reply via email to