*IANS : 60% Wikipedia entries contain factual errors*
Times of India :
The Hindu :
Zee News :
IBN Live :
NYDaily :

*WASHINGTON: Sixty per cent of Wikipedia articles about companies contain
factual errors, according to a new research, which warned people not to
rely on the website for accurate and balanced information.

"It does not surprise me that so many Wikipedia entries contain factual
errors," said Marcia W DiStaso, assistant professor of public relations at
Penn State University, who conducted the research.

"A high amount of factual errors doesn't work for anyone, especially the
public, which relies on Wikipedia for accurate, balanced information," says

DiStaso surveyed 1,284 professionals from Public Relations Society of
America, the International Association of Business Communicators, the Word
of Mouth Marketing Association, the Institute for Public Relations and the
National Investor Relations Institute to assess their working relationship
with Wikipedia, the Public Relations Journal reports.

Results of the survey indicate a gap exists between public relations
professionals and Wikipedia concerning the proper protocol for editing
entries, according to a Penn statement.

When respondents attempted to engage editors through Wikipedia's "Talk"
pages to request corrections of facts in entries, 40 percent said it took
"days" to receive a response, 12 percent indicated "weeks," while 24
percent never received any type of response.

According to Wikipedia, its standard response time to requests for
corrections is between two and five days.

Only 35 per cent of respondents were able to engage with Wikipedia, either
by using its "Talk" pages to converse with editors or through direct
editing of a client's entry.

Respondents indicated this figure is low partly because some fear media
backlash over making edits to clients' entries. Respondents also expressed
a certain level of uncertainty regarding how to properly edit Wikipedia

Of those who were familiar with the process of editing Wikipedia entries,
23 percent said making changes was "near impossible". Twenty-nine percent
said their interactions with Wikipedia editors were "never productive".

"What is surprising, however, is that 25 per cent of survey respondents
indicated they are not familiar with the Wikipedia articles for their
company or clients. At some point most, if not all, companies will
determine they need to change something in their Wikipedia entries," said

Without clear, consistent rules from Wikipedia regarding how factual
corrections can be made, this will be a very difficult learning process for
public relations professionals.
Tinu Cherian

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