Two London universities have been deleting negative information and finessing critical passages on their respective institution’s Wikipedia pages, a Times Higher Education investigation discovered.
In August, London Metropolitan University’s press office deleted comments made last year by Malcolm Gillies, their vice-chancellor, in which he considered a campus alcohol ban because conservative Muslim students considered the substance “immoral”.
The magazine’s investigation also found that the University of Arts London’s press office edited passages on their Wikipedia page in May 2012. They gave a section describing staff and course cuts a more positive spin, ending with: “the university has consolidated and is looking to the future with cautious optimism”.
The first-party ‘airbrushing’ of these articles breaks the online encyclopaedia’s guidelines and the site’s administrators have since banned London Met’s account for “promotional editing”.
Sections deleted by the university have since been reinstated by other Wikipedia users, although between November 2012 and March this year, anonymous users with IP addresses traceable to London Met’s location have attempted to re-delete the comments.
Adrian Polglase, London Student: Issue 5 (09/12/2013)