The Unethics of Sharing: Wikiwashing


  • Mayo Fuster Morell


In order for online communities to assemble and grow, some basic infrastructure is necessary that makes possible the aggregation of the collective action. There is a very intimate and complex relationship between the technological infrastructure and the social character of the community which uses it. Today, most infrastructure is provided by corporations and the contrast between community and corporate dynamics is becoming increasingly pronounced. But rather than address the issues, the corporations are actively obfuscating it. Wikiwashing refers to a strategy of corporate infrastructure providers where practices associated to their role of profit seeking corporations (such as abusive terms of use, privacy violation, censorship, and use of voluntary work for profit purposes, among others) that would be seen as unethical by the communities they enable are concealed by promoting a misleading image of themselves associated with the general values of wikis and Wikipedia (such as sharing and collaboration, openness and transparency). The empirical analysis is based on case studies (Facebook , Yahoo! and Google) and triangulation of several methods.




How to Cite

Morell, Mayo Fuster. 2011. “The Unethics of Sharing: Wikiwashing”. The International Review of Information Ethics 15 (September). Edmonton, Canada:9-16.