Wikipedia is the 5th most visited website in the world. It gets 450 million views per month. It is authored by over 100,000 people. They are volunteers. There are millions of articles. Despite what some people say nearly all of it is well written and correct. After, all you can always check because they put references to their work at the base of the page. Anyone can copy their work and nearly all of their images. They are licensed under a creative commons license.
With this great success goes great responsibility. And Wikipedia has a major weakness. Anyone can open an account (I have one) and write an article. They can amend any of the articles. It is open season. Obviously if someone writes a pile of junk then someone else will overwrite and correct it. It is self correcting.
However, corrections, amendments and additions can take time to appear. In the meantime there might be a glaring error for millions to see. Worse, there might be something deliberately misleading in an article; something designed to cover up a misdemeanor and polish up someone’s image.
And so it has come about that some unscrupulous companies are hiring public relations firms to delete deleterious sections of articles about companies and to add something nicer. When this concerns animal cruelty is should concern people who like and love cats because true cat lovers like the truth and hate animal cruelty of all kinds.
An example is the removal of references to animal cruelty on the Bernard Matthews page. It is alleged that this was carried out by a communications company called Cardew Group working on behalf of Bernard Matthews Farms Limited.
The deleted sections referred to cruelty by two Bernard Matthews workers towards turkeys. They hit the birds with poles they were using as baseball bats. They were convicted of animal cruelty and sentenced to 200 community service (a very light sentence incidentally).
This incident was recorded by the original Wikipedia authors who wrote about the late Bernard Matthews. Subsequently an employee of the Cardew Group opened an account under the username: Mathewlaw1234. This person is alleged to have removed the references to the incident. They also allegedly removed other information that was apparently considered bad for the image of the Bernard Matthew’s company Bernard Matthews Farms Limited.
With respect to some of the alterations, a decent volunteer reinstated the deleted and amended sections. He repaired the damage in effect. These were then allegedly removed by the same people from Cardew Group. You can see how it becomes a battle for the truth.
The entries to animal cruelty are now on the Bernard Matthews Farms Limited Wikipedia entry.
This is one well documented example. Animal abuse is something that big business wants to sweep under the carpet. Some companies are involved in animal testing for example. This is legal but not popular with a large section of the community.
Enjoy and use Wikipedia. However be wary of how it is written. As I said, anyone can write anything until someone honest comes along and corrects it. “Use with caution” must be the motto. But don’t say it’s no good. It is a fantastic resource.