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theEweekly Wrap

PR Wiki Ethics Pledge – Greater Detail Satellite Images – Internet’s Facebook Freakout

PR firms pledge to use Wikipedia ethically

This week, 11 PR firms signed a pledge to use the world's free encyclopaedia ethically.

Each firm and in fact the PR industry as a whole has attracted some criticism from outsiders who are suspicious of the truth of articles edited on the behalf of a client. As the BBC reports, in 2013 the Wikimedia Foundation had a look at 300 anonymous accounts making edits to the service which it found to belong to just one PR company.

Known for its open editing policy, contoversial editing is not new to Wikipedia, which is looking to find a workable and open fix for this issue.

You can read the new disclosure requirements on the Wikimedia blog. The clauses which cover the changes for paid edits include:

"If you are paid to edit...You need to add your affiliation to your edit summary, user page, or talk page, to fairly disclose your perspective."

So we can see the encyclopaedia is serious about making these issues visible. Some even believe the changes will work out well for both parties. In the pledge, the PR firms agree it is to their benefit to help Wikipedia "fulfil its mission of developing an accurate and objective online encyclopaedia".

Phil Gomes, spokesman for Edelman Digital in an interview with Ad Age said "there needs to be more from PR than subterfuge and more from Wikipedia than shame."


Detailed Google Maps images in future?

Next up: Satellites. Well just one really big satellite actually. The Worldview-3 made by American satellite company DigitalGlobe is planned to launch this summer. It could give us all clearer maps images on sites like Google and Bing.

A lot is happening at once for DigitalGlobe, as new changes to the US law will mean it can sell more of the images it takes from its satellite, allowing us a closer view of the world.

"It means we'll be able to solve new kinds of problems," Chief Executive Jeffrey Tarr told Reuters. So for example, when somebody spots something weird on Google maps, like someone lying in the road, you may well be able to tell what brand of shoe the person is wearing too.

Other stuff we'll see on the images could be rulers, giant pencils, smallish potted plants, as well as plenty of other things that aren't as silly as these suggestions.

Selling the detailed images could bring $400m (£235m) for the company as more and more commercial opportunities for the images become available.

So watch out as these new images pop up in services over the next year or two, with even more detailed ones to follow in the future.


Internet reacts to Facebook outage

Last but not least Facebook went down for 20 minutes on Thursday morning, prompting the Internet to lose it's collective mind for a whole third of an hour.

The Guardian, The Independent, Forbes, The Daily Mail, and the BBC among a spread of other online sources all rallied behind the story, eager to discover what was happening.

While the journalists were staring the disaster in the face, the rest of us were either scrambling to whatever social media life boat we could to express dismay and panic, or were killing time with light conversation on how Facebook's crash would increase our productivity.

Suddenly the site came back online. The downtime of 20 minutes, the longest the site has suffered since 2010 when the site was unreachable for 2.5 hours, had all just been a minor technical fault. What have we learned?

If anything, we've learned Facebook is so ingrained into our way of life, so very deeply ingrained and relevant, that when it goes away for the duration of a coffee break this constitutes a global worldwide internet phenomenon... Either that, or nothing really.

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