Someone in EA’s Redwood City offices has been trying to change history. An IP address belonging to said offices has been poking about in the company’s Wikipedia entry over the past years, systematically removing references to EA founder Trip Hawkins as well as information on the much publicised EA Spouse incident, which exposed the oppressive working conditions employees were forced to contend with and eventually led to a class-action lawsuit. We aren’t talking a tiny edit here or there. We are looking at whole paragraphs expunged from the text, positive spin being added where negatives couldn’t be completely obliterated. Shacknews cites a revision comparison from November 2006, which shows the old and revised listings side by side, highlighting changes made by the EA IP address. Trip Hawkins name is removed from the important people listing as well as several places within the text. Whole paragraphs of criticism have been excised. One of my personal favourites:
Electronic Arts has from time to time been criticised 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.
had been replaced with
Electronic Arts has led the industry in reforming work/life balance issues that are endemic to the software industry.
That’s one hell of an edit there.
The changes and source were discovered by Shacknews using Virgil Giffith’s Wikipedia Scanner, which references anonymous entry editor IP addresses to a WHOIS IP lookup. They determined that the IP address in question is responsible for a third of the Wikipedia changes made from the Redwood offices, which tells us this is either someone in the company assigned Wikipedia editing duty or someone doing this on their own with far too much time on their hands. Unlikely, but possible.
As a daily user of Wikipedia, this doesn’t surprise me in the least. On a daily basis companies and individuals have to monitor their entries to make sure no biased or inaccurate information gets added to their listing. They’re just not supposed to be adding it.
EA Staffer Attempts to Alter Wiki History [Shacknews]