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AB InBev caught up in Wikipedia row

AB InBev has been caught up in a row over online encyclopedia Wikipedia after a PR firm altered an entry on beer brand Stella Artois.

Portland Communications deleted the term “wife-beater” from the Wikipedia article about Stella Artois, reportedly to “challenge any connections between the brand and domestic violence.”

The firm was employed by AB InBev to improve the brand’s reputation online, with it having picked up the “wife-beater” tag due to its high alcohol content and its association with town centre brawls and rowdy sports fans.

Portland maintains that the changes were made openly and within Wikipedia’s rules.

In the wake of this revelation, though, a meeting has been scheduled between the Chartered Institute of Public Relations and Wikipedia to give PR professionals guidance for working on Wikipedia, and to develop a code of conduct for PR professionals to help minimise attempts to mask the true identity of PR professionals seeking to edit the site.

The “wife-beater” references have since been reinstated on Wikipedia by other users.

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