Wikipedia’s 6 million articles attract 260 million monthly viewers, far outpacing the competition, and no other “single source of information is referenced more frequently, and no other web result does more to shape perceptions of the people, organizations and brands we hear about in the news and search for online.”
Often, Ruff says, Alexa, Siri and Google Voice just “read directly from” Wikipedia articles in response to questions. ChatGPT’s chatbot “was trained on Wikipedia, with the encyclopedia likely helping the program learn patterns of language related to particular people, places and things. So when you ask ChatGPT about a brand or prominent individual, there’s a good chance that at least some of the information it provides in response will come from Wikipedia. Google’s Bard AI, meanwhile, cites the encyclopedia directly in its responses.”
Wikipedia Risk Management
That’s why it is vital that information about your company or association that appears on Wikipedia be updated regularly and remain accurate. Wikipedia — this is no state secret — has its own processes and protocols for submitting entries and updating them, and we all need to familiarize ourselves with them. An organization’s reputation is at stake, so responsible risk management requires us to be diligent.
Wikipedia often provides links to news stories from what were once called “print” publications and are now probably better thought of as outposts of “legacy” media. That means we should check these for accuracy as well and, when something untrue or needlessly damaging to the brand appears, to seek a correction.
Be Respectful with Correction Requests
This in turn can require us to contact the reporter who did the story, which can be awkward because you need to maintain a pleasant, open and mutually beneficial relationship with them. It’s important to remember that you can’t make them change their stories, and they aren’t likely to be in a hurry to do so. Because their own professionalism is at stake, they should be approached with respect.
“I generally note that I know how important accuracy is to them and wanted to flag that ‘XYZ’ should say ‘ABC’ to be accurate,” Melanie Doupé Gaiser, vice president of Ruder Finn’s health care practice, tells PR Daily. “Then I ask if they would be willing to consider this correction request. I phrase it that way because it inherently and respectfully acknowledges their ultimate control over what is published.”
Whether or not you succeed in correcting the misinformation, this is the reality: Far more people than might read it in their local paper could see it — on Wikipedia.
Often, Ruff says, Alexa, Siri and Google Voice just “read directly from” Wikipedia articles in response to questions. ChatGPT’s chatbot “was trained on Wikipedia” … That’s why it is vital that information about your company or association that appears on Wikipedia be updated regularly and remain accurate.