EA Wikipedia entry edits traced back to publisher

Earlier this week, Wired reported on Wikipedia Scanner, a new tool that cross references the IP addresses of people who edit the online encyclopedia with companies that own the related IP ranges. The end product is a tailor-made snooping tool that can help shine a light on companies' attempts to...

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Earlier this week, Wired reported on Wikipedia Scanner, a new tool that cross references the IP addresses of people who edit the online encyclopedia with companies that own the related IP ranges. The end product is a tailor-made snooping tool that can help shine a light on companies' attempts to manipulate their corporate histories.

For instance, Wired found evidence of someone at voting machine manufacturer Diebold editing out 15 paragraphs critical of the company from its entry. Wal-Mart and Montana Senator Conrad Burns' office were also found to have altered pages to put a positive spin on their pasts.

The practice of wiki-washing likely extends into industries of all sizes; an article on Shacknews today reports that gaming is no exception. The site found evidence that an IP address at Electronic Arts' Redwood Shores headquarters made multiple changes to the company's Wikipedia entry.

In addition to updating information like the total number of EA employees, the user's edits also cut out a number of passages that were either critical of the company or referenced unflattering events like company-wide layoffs.

For instance, a passage referencing the EA Spouse scandal and subsequent lawsuit originally read, "Electronic Arts has from time to time been criticized for its employment policy of requiring employees to work extraordinarily long hours--up to 80 hours per week--as a general rule and not just at 'crunch' times leading up to the scheduled releases of products." After the user in question edited it, it said, "Electronic Arts has led the industry in reforming work/life balance issues that are endemic to the software industry." The user also added mention that other publishers have also faced lawsuits over similar issues.

While portions of the entry saying EA was notorious for rushing out games and then did a poor job supporting them postrelease were edited out, the entry was not entirely scrubbed of criticism. Remarks about the company's practices of buying smaller studios like Origin or Westwood for their intellectual properties were left in, as were notes saying the company shuts down its acquired studios once they make an underperforming game.

Other passages, like one suggesting the publisher's exclusive NFL license is bad for the business, was simply added to with a note that the NFL itself sought out an exclusive deal. That edit even changes the phrase, "Some think Electronic Arts' sports licenses are threatening the game market..." to the more damning, "While it is widely think [sic] Electronic Arts' sports licenses are threatening the game market...."

Other alterations to the article involved the downplaying of EA founder Trip Hawkins and deletion of other early company employees. A mention of Hawkins' current venture, mobile game developer Digital Chocolate, was also axed.

AnEA representatives commented on the matter, saying, "EAsometimes updates Web sites with info about the company, games and employees.For example, EA has sent acorrection toYahoo Financewhen they had misspelled the name ofan EAexecutive. Many companies routinely post updates on Web sites like Wikipedia to ensure accuracy of their own corporate information."

Discussion

205 comments
darkxinos
darkxinos

"Alright u know what this means. ALLLL of us go to wikipedia.com and "Edit" E.A.'s propaganda version. -Our Edit is to Print the Truth about E.A. being the half-bake churning machine that it is. And it will be done for The Gamers by The Gamers." Gah! That makes you just as bad as them you fool!

nobeaner
nobeaner

Once again, no big surprise that company's do this.

iceuk
iceuk

EA suck, lol, Leave wiki alone!

faizali86
faizali86

this problem cannot be removed completely. these guys were editing information from their offices, but they could do the same thing from some other ip and not get caught.

shadyelf
shadyelf

Will EA take over Wikipedia too?

lsny
lsny

EA is certainly the gaming world's (for now) evil empire.

Two400
Two400

If you guys hate it so much....then edit the entry yourself lol

SilverGuy999999
SilverGuy999999

You should all go have a look at their Wikipedia entry now, cause by the looks of it, everything is back in it now and someone even added a part called "Editing of Wikipedia", enjoy :D

aots_twilight
aots_twilight

Never trusted Wikipedia that much anyways...

anamnawshad
anamnawshad

Wiki should do something to stop these malpractices.......

L15_eric_Wavo
L15_eric_Wavo

Unfortunatly this was bound to happen taking to account the widespread acclaim Wikipedia had over the years. there should be thighter controll as to who can post because an YouTube-like security system is proven to fail sooner rather than later.

horioricorious
horioricorious

god i hate you, gamespot. wheres the comment i posted here yesterday? theres an article on BBC.com about the same thing being done by the governement, republicans, democrats, the vatican, etc. and then i proceeded to say that there is a world outside of video games, finishing off by calling you all children.

dQuarters
dQuarters

Don't take this story too seriously. Of course EA would do this. They're afraid of the truth, like nearly every big coorporation. It doesn't put a singly ounce of scepticism in my mind about Wikipedia's usefulness. If anything this is just another method of discrediting the people's ability to be self-informed, and more evidence that we NEED it. Up theirs. Long live Wikipedia. And someone will eventually revise the page to inform us of this very story.

Neoyamaneko
Neoyamaneko

Revert their edits due to biased POV and lack of neutrality.

kevin82485
kevin82485

Lol, does anyone besides me see the irony in this? They make crappy games because instead of working on the games, they are too busy editing their Wikipedia entry! Oh, goodness. When I use Wiki though I make sure that reliable sources are being used, because Wiki is basically the world's largest research paper on everything.

sony_fann
sony_fann

What you said was funny Zoomer30 ''This verison of Madden 08 I got is total crap. Next Gen? EA should be sued for calling it next gen'', lol I kinda feel the same as you jocaju it doesn't make sense why they are the biggest games producer and in terms of revenue/ profit some of its games are hack just look at its fifa titles and compare it to Konami's Pro evolution with all their profits they still cannot put together a decent football gamem am not slating EA or anything but come on and some people have the courtesy of saying fia's better than pro.

Rtrace1
Rtrace1

As a member of the Conter Vandalism Team on Wikipedia you see things like this all the time. But seeing a company like EA participated in vandalizing Wikipedia makes me feel sick.

R3DN1N3
R3DN1N3

This is great news. Now we can all see what kind of a company EA really is. You guys should care for those that don't. EA might one day buy out your favorite company, and if it underperforms, then you can say goodbye to them. We need to stop EA

MangyForestCat
MangyForestCat

EA should change their motto when a game starts up from "Challenge Everything" to something more appropriate like "Challenge everything but us because we're always right and never lie ever ever ever"

Fred187
Fred187

Someone should add this small scandal onto the EA Wikipedia page.

Bio_Spark
Bio_Spark

I was starting to think I'd never get a chance to post this again: Look.

synapticflow
synapticflow

EA and Walmart... why doesn't this surprise me?

MangyForestCat
MangyForestCat

I don't know if you guys know this, but Wikipedia is the most trusted source of knowledge in the world. In fact a recent study shows that when listing sources for research and thesis papers 95% of teachers prefer a Wikipedia source. Remember kids if you see it on Wikipedia it must be true!

mrjasler
mrjasler

I have a friend who worked for Sega in Japan and he complained how they overworked their employees, making them do so much overtime and people were sleeping at work without pay, i have another friend who worked for nintendo and he said they worked him like a machine, he was fully monitored and if he didn't do overtime they threatened to fire him.. so to say that EA are the only ones mis-treating their employees is a lie.. If you don't know anyone that actually works for any of these game companies then you are mis-informed. I just get annoyed when people here with a lack of knowledge about the games industry talk like they know everything.. I have friends who work at EA and they do complain about being overworked but they realise this is the nature of the industry and when they go to other companies they are faced with the same situation.

Bozanimal
Bozanimal

I am not sure why people are implying that EA should not be allowed to edit a Wikipedia entry about themselves. If you had a Wikipedia entry about yourself, would you not edit it to make it - in your opinion - more accurate? As long as they do not edit-in patent untruths, I see not problem. Maybe another commentator can explain this to me.

mrjasler
mrjasler

HA! well any company in the world will do the same thing? are you guys idiots? I mean if you had a company yourselves and bad stuff was being said in your wikipedia will you just let it be there? I mean cmon.. I would edit it out too.. even if it is true .. doesn't matter , if I have a business and want to continue making money I have to make sure there isn't much negative press. This is logical.. nothing wrong in doing what EA has done. Go to any game company and lets see if any of them have anything bad about them being said? I doubt it.. this is due to them editing it to put a positive spin. Even companies you respect like SEGA, NINTENDO have all treated employees badly in the past.. they have all had some negative history. EA's negative history is just amplified because of that lawsuit and due to their size.

zorn99
zorn99

Wikipedia is a great source of info. Just remember that some entries may contain inaccuracies, either mistakenly or intentionally.

imautobot
imautobot

If this suprises anyone it's got to be those brain dead Madden players. EA could never do something so insideious, they are reputable company. I'm sure their good name will be cleared soon,,,, Oh man I can't say that with a straight face. hahahaha Yeah right!

joseph_looper
joseph_looper

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

joseph_looper
joseph_looper

MXVIII, You wrote the following about my comments, so I have included my rebuttal: Well okay those sound like good plans but heres the thing A) call them and ask. : Are you kidding? Because they're gonna openly tell you that they mistreat their workers and have the biggest company lay-offs and turn arounds in the country. You'll probably get some guy in India answering the phone anyway. Please.... rebuttal: The best way to know a person, company, or whoever is to confront them and ask. Your comment about India is a little derogative (ad hominem) and it makes you sound like you are upset or that EA has wronged you. Please refrain from using these type of comments if you don't want others to make the same type of comments about your race, religion, background, and so on. B.) Look at thier company website. : Do you work at EA or something? I mean seriously did you not read the article? They just stated that EA has been editing the article to make them sound better. Oh so sure the website exclusively owned and edited by them is going to be waaaaaay more honest. rebuttal: No I don't work for EA. You say that the company, EA, has been editing the article. Ok, let's get real here, you honestly believe the whole company would condone this type of behavior. You make it sound like the company is some evil entity that has a single minded agenda to edit wikipedia pages. A company such as EA or any other is a complex organization. As such, the company as a whole didn't edit the wikipedia pages. Maybe someone high up in upper management did it or maybe someone down low, a disgruntled employee, committed these acts. We may never know. But don't assume the company EA did it, it's not realistic to see how a company that size would bother setting resources for the sole purpose of editing wikipedia pages. C.) Speak With people who are working there. Now this one has some sense, however its a double edged sword. See the poeple currently employed might tell you some of the things going on there, if you can even get ahold of one of them and gain their trust. Most employees never talk about their company like that for fear of losing their jobs to corporate spies who pose as normal people just to see what your thinking and wehat you say about the company. They exist I know, because we are partnered with a company that likes to call us up pretending to be stupid tourists and theyll ask which company is better, and if we say something about their company oh boy will they be on us like white on rice. I suppose you could go to employees who have already lost their jobs or quit EA but they're probably too bitter to give you any accurate info. Rebuttal: So, your reply here suggests that talking to people within a company won't work. Do you have a better suggestion? No? I have a proposition for you. Look up people online who work for the company. They are easy to find. It all depends which field you are interested in: if they are an art related field, then visit sites where these EA artists post; if they are in a programming field, then visit sites where programmers post; and so on. I have found a few sites where you can find these people and speak with. And yes, I mean communicate with them on a honest basis. Let's not make assumptions or wide conclusions here.

Irve
Irve

see i can't understand why Wkipedia doesn't just put an unmoveable header at the top stating that " this wiki has been edited by the company involved removing critical statements and facts" you know .. posh for this page is a load of bull

raedman
raedman

Lol... trust wikipedia? Who does? Anything where any vandal can edit almost anonymously cannot be trusted.

lew_0911
lew_0911

Really now, as if there weren't a bajillion other sites with stories about their mishaps (this website included).

nintendorocks
nintendorocks

Oh, EA....Come on now...Did you really need to do that? Just make more good games and stop worry about what people are saying about you on the internet.

Ryusennin
Ryusennin

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Ryusennin
Ryusennin

Revisionism. I bet most if not all of the current suits at EA have no clue that the garage business company really started to develop successful games on the Amiga platform around 1985 (and most of them probably don't know what an Amiga is).

Wikipedian
Wikipedian

I am requesting protection on the EA article and reporting them to AIV

Wikipedian
Wikipedian

Wikipedia cites ALL its sources. Vandalsim is undone in just five seconds after it is commited

Wikipedian
Wikipedian

I LOVE WIKIPEDIA. You ought to edit too. I have been editing for over a year now

delcidanddarth
delcidanddarth

There should be 2 version of Wikipedia... the abridged and unabridged. The abridged one would be scrutinized to be factual... the other one should be somewhat factual, but made hilarious like the Daily Show.

Pete5506
Pete5506

wikipedia is good but not always the best

tman93
tman93

LOL, Ea is the single greatest gaming company in existance!

another_drew
another_drew

Could this be it? Am I possibly dreaming? Is this hopefully the end of EA? Oh, I guess not they just bought out another company......