The Unethics of Sharing: Wikiwashing

In W. Sützl & F. Stalder (Ed.). International Review of Information Ethics: Special issue: Ethics of Sharing. Vol. 15 September 2011

Posted: 4 Oct 2016  

Mayo Fuster Morell

Open University of Catalunya - IN3; Harvard University - Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society

Date Written: 2011

Abstract

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.

Keywords: Online Creation Communities, Sharing platforms, Technological tools

Suggested Citation

Fuster Morell, Mayo, The Unethics of Sharing: Wikiwashing (2011). In W. Sützl & F. Stalder (Ed.). International Review of Information Ethics: Special issue: Ethics of Sharing. Vol. 15 September 2011 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2842693

Mayo Fuster Morell (Contact Author)

Open University of Catalunya - IN3 ( email )

Parc Mediterrani de la Tecnologia (Edifici B3)
Barcelona, CA Barcelona 08860
Spain
+34 93 450 52 00 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.uoc.edu/portal/en/in3/recerca/grups/digital_commons

Harvard University - Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society ( email )

Harvard Law School
23 Everett, 2nd Floor
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://cyber.harvard.edu/people/mfustermorell

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