As far as I can see the edits are slightly peacocky, but not much worse than an 
ordinary fanboy might do on a game or music article. The big issue to me is the 
undisclosed COI, which is unethical. Proving that the edits were paid for does 
not seem reasonably practicable unless you start off by assuming guilt.

-----Original Message-----
From: Wikimedia-l [] On Behalf Of 
Gabriel Thullen
Sent: Friday, April 14, 2017 6:40 PM
To: Wikimedia Mailing List
Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] [arbcom-l] Where is WMF with pursuing companies that 
offer paid editing services

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 advert.

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
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