How corporations, governments, etc. censor Wikipedia

This video is called What is Wikipedia?

After earlier news on this; from British daily The Independent:

Wikipedia and the art of censorship

It was hailed as a breakthrough in the democratisation of knowledge. But the online encyclopedia has since been hijacked by forces who decided that certain things were best left unknown.

By Robert Verkaik

Published: 18 August 2007

The secret of Wikipedia’s phenomenal success is that anyone can edit the millions of comments, facts and statistics published on the pages of the world’s most popular online encyclopaedia. But that of course is also its greatest weakness.

The chance to rewrite history in flattering and uncritical terms has proved too much of a temptation for scores of multinational companies, political parties and well-known organisations across the world. …

Exxon Mobil and the giant oil slick

An IP address that belongs to ExxonMobil, the oil giant, is linked to sweeping changes to an entry on the Exxon Valdez oil spill of 1989. An allegation that the company “has not yet paid the $5 billion in spill damages it owes to the 32,000 Alaskan fishermen” was replaced with references to the funds the company has paid out.

The [United States] Republican Party and Iraq

The Republican Party edited Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath Party entry so it made it clear that the US-led invasion was not a “US-led occupation” but a “US-led liberation.”

The CIA and casualties of war

A computer with a CIA IP address was used to change a graphic on casualties of the Iraq war by adding the warning that many of the figures were estimated and not broken down by class. Another entry on former CIA chief William Colby was edited to expand his cv. …

Dow Chemical and the Bhopal disaster

A computer registered to the Dow Chemical Company is recorded as deleting a passage on the Bhopal chemical disaster of 1984, which occurred at a plant operated by Union Carbide, now a wholly owned Dow subsidiary. The incident cost up to 20,000 lives. …

MySpace and self-censorship

Someone working from an IP address linked to MySpace [owned by Rupert Murdoch] appears to have been so irritated by references to the social networking website’s over-censorial policy that they removed a paragraph accusing MySpace of censorship. …

News International and the hypocritical anti-paedophile campaign

Someone at News International [owned by Rupert Murdoch] saw fit to remove criticism of the News of the World‘s anti-paedophile campaign by deleting the suggestion that this amounted to editorial hypocrisy [see also a Dutch nazi child porn case of that]. The original entry reminded readers that the paper continued to “publish semi-nude photographs of page three models as young as 16 and salacious stories about female celebrities younger than that.”

Tom Hodgkinson on the [US conservative] politics of Facebook: here.

3 thoughts on “How corporations, governments, etc. censor Wikipedia

  1. Exxon Valdez plaintiffs want $5 bln award restored
    Thu Aug 30, 2007 8:05PM EDT

    By Yereth Rosen

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) – Plaintiffs in the long-running case surrounding the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil disaster this week asked the U.S. Supreme Court to restore a $5 billion punitive fine against Exxon Mobil Corp, a petition filed with highest U.S. court shows.

    The petition, filed Tuesday, followed one filed last week by Exxon Mobil that asked the Supreme Court to overturn the $2.5 billion punitive fine assessed by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

    The appeals court had halved a $5 billion fine imposed in 1994 by a federal district court jury sitting in Anchorage. The class-action suit involves about 32,000 commercial fishermen, Alaska Natives, property owners and others harmed by the spill.

    In perhaps the most infamous oil accident in U.S. history, the tanker Exxon Valdez ran aground, spilling 11 million gallons of crude oil that spread to about 1,300 coastline miles. It closed commercial fisheries in Prince William Sound and the Gulf of Alaska and killed thousands of marine mammals and hundreds of thousands of seabirds.

    The plaintiffs will respond by September 20 to Exxon’s effort to overturn the $2.5 billion fine, said David Tarshes, one of the plaintiff’s attorneys.

    The plaintiffs’ petition argues that no Supreme Court review is needed, and that it “could prolong the case for many years to come.”

    Plaintiffs say the case has already dragged on too long.

    They say that in the years that Exxon and its successor Exxon Mobil have challenged the jury’s verdict, a fifth of the plaintiff class members have died while the oil giant has recouped the entire $5 billion though its internal corporate rate of return, the petition said.

    And Exxon Mobil earned record profits recently, setting quarterly and annual highs for the most money made in corporate history.

    In a prepared statement, Exxon Mobil spokesman Tony Cudmore said the company has already paid $3.5 billion in cleanup costs, compensation and settlements and does not deserve to be further punished for the spill.

    “We acknowledge that the Exxon Valdez oil spill was a very emotional event for many in Alaska, and to some, those feelings remain strong even today,” the statement said. “As we have said many times, the Valdez oil spill was a tragic accident, one which the corporation deeply regrets, and one for which the corporation has paid significantly.”

    If the Supreme Court does take up the case, it should restore the original verdict, the petition said. They say Exxon Mobil deserves the punitive fine because of its “reprehensible” conduct before the spill, and cited a pattern of bad behavior by Exxon Valdez Captain Joseph Hazelwood, who the plaintiffs say was drunk when the tanker hit a reef.

    “Hazelwood was a relapsed alcoholic, and Exxon knew it,” the petition said.

    The plaintiffs’ petition also dismisses claims by the oil company that it should be credited for its vigorous cleanup efforts.

    The cleanup recovered only about 14 percent of the spilled oil, and tape-recorded comments from an Exxon official at the time suggested that it was mounted more for publicity than effectiveness, the petition said.

    © Reuters 2007.


  2. Pingback: United States corporate Internet censorship | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Dutch Princess Mabel changed Wikipedia info about herself | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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