Survey: 60 percent of company articles on Wikipedia have factual errors

Wikipedia can be a great resource for finding information but it's well known that it should be counted on to present facts that are 100 percent accurate. This week a new survey claims that the majority of articles about specific companies on Wikipedia have at least some errors.

The report, from the Public Relations Society of America, claims that 60 percent of companies with Wikipedia articles had some kind of factual errors. The report was based on a survey of 1,284 PR employees who represented companies listed on Wikipedia. In addition, 25 percent of the PR reps surveys said they were unaware of the Wikipedia pages for their clients.

Marcia W. DiStaso, Ph.D., who headed up the survey for the PRSA, stated:

At some point most, if not all, companies will determine they need to change something in their Wikipedia entries. 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.

Wikipedia has a policy of not allowing company pages to be directly edited by someone who is a "paid advocate" of the company in question. That means PR reps have to ask Wikipedia's editors to change something that is incorrect.

However, fixing a Wikipedia article can also be difficult. The survey said that when PR reps use the website's "Talk" feature to ask that Wikipedia's editors correct an entry on one of their company's pages, 40 percent said it can take days for the article to be fixed. 12 percent of PR reps said it can take weeks and 24 percent said that the Wikipedia page wasn't changed at all.

PR reps are advised to frequently check the Wikipedia page of the company they represent and contact the editors via their "Talk" feature if they see factual errors that need to be corrected. In addition, the report recommends that Wikipedia itself try to clarify its own rules as to what PR reps can and cannot do in terms of editing their client's Wikipedia pages.

Image via PRSA

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16 Comments

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I find Wikipedia is crap for editing. The amount of junk on there that I read that I KNOW is wrong, but can't be bothered finding an article to prove is just a joke.

Also, editing pages. I give us. They need to make an editor to do the work, I don't even know what you call the editing in Wikipedia, but it's crap.

A study has found that 60% of articles on Wikipedia contain false information.

In other news, the results of this study are being called into question for factual inaccuracy. An anonymous source notes "Hey, even though our study is about Wikipedia, it doesn't mean we're not talking out our arse!"

The makers of the study could not be reached for comment.

That means PR reps have to ask Wikipedia's editors to change something that is incorrect.
============
Incorrect according to who ? The PR guys ?

Cause we all know PR guys always say the truth and only the truth ...

LaP said,
That means PR reps have to ask Wikipedia's editors to change something that is incorrect.
============
Incorrect according to who ? The PR guys ?

Cause we all know PR guys always say the truth and only the truth ...


That's exactly what I thought.

I recently got in an argument at work with someone who was using the wikipedia as the source of his information. Finally got him to back down when I pointed out how recently the article changed with this information and how the information wasn't consistent with any published work. Ended up being a terrific waste of time.

Shadrack said,
I recently got in an argument at work with someone who was using the wikipedia as the source of his information. Finally got him to back down when I pointed out how recently the article changed with this information and how the information wasn't consistent with any published work. Ended up being a terrific waste of time.

This is the worst! People (dumb asses) swear that wikipedia is the answer to all the questions of the universe.

jerzdawg said,

This is the worst! People (dumb asses) swear that wikipedia is the answer to all the questions of the universe.

Can I swear that it is the best place to start looking for the answers?

jerzdawg said,

This is the worst! People (dumb asses) swear that wikipedia is the answer to all the questions of the universe.

I've never heard anyone say that. But i often hear people say wikipedia is ****. Nobody say Wikipedia is 100% reliable. Even printed encyclopedia are not.

No source should be trusted. People should always double check and even triple check with various sources. Someone who start with wikipedia and then double/triple check with more reliable sources does a better job than someone getting info from a printed encyclopedia and trust it without double checking.

Wikipedia is a good start to gather informations. Doesn't matter what purists think about it. You can go to wikipedia and get updated information quickly. Then you follow the references and read them and also double/triple check with other sources etc ...

jerzdawg said,

This is the worst! People (dumb asses) swear that wikipedia is the answer to all the questions of the universe.

It is as long as it's sourced. And using a reliable source, that is.

I use Wikipedia all the time. I'm not saying it is a bad place to go for information... just that sometimes the information is just plain wrong.

There currently is some language under the K-Type thermocouple article that suggests that the output will be permanently changed in the metals if it reaches a temperature of 350 deg C. I can demonstrate that this is not the case, and the K-Type range is actually up into the 1372 deg C range. You can't even weld the bead without exposing the metal to temperatures well above 350 deg C.

Hum said,
Impossible -- everything on the Internet is 100% true.

Well, this certainly doesn't mean "everything" or at least "most" of the stuff on the Internet is false and/or unreliable.

It irritates me when people laugh at me for saying I sourced my claim on the Internet (as an example), apparently people keep forgetting that there ARE reliable and trustable sources on the Internet. You just have to know where and what you're looking (for).
So yes, of course there are bull**** websites and yes, there is a lot of unreliable stuff on the Internet, but if you know what you're doing you really shouldn't encounter much of that..

Hum said,
Impossible -- everything on the Internet is 100% true.

By your logic, that means that this, also being on the internet, is 100% true as well.