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Rakuten Securities insider deleting unfavourable Wikipedia entry text? August 30, 2006

Posted by fukumimi in Internet, IT, Japan.
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via Technobahn (Japanese)

The netshoken blog reports that the Wikipedia entry for Rakuten Securities has been subject to alteration by someone apprently on the Rakuten Securities network. The most objectionable alteration pertains to the deletion of historical fact – an addition to the entry regarding the FSA’s administrative order as of 2005/11/16 to improve business operations in light of repeated system outages was added on 2006/1/9, and was deleted by a user with IP address of 222.151.201.210 on 2006/7/6. The deleted text was reinstated by a different user on 2006/7/30, and the text was again removed by a user with the same IP address.

Another part of the entry commenting on the MarketSpeed stock charting system was also altered. Text commenting on the frequency of system outages and the severity of the problem this poses for users (many of whom are day traders for whom trade execution timings are crucial) was deleted, and part of a sentence in the paragraph comparing Rakuten’s offering with rival Matsui Securities’ offering was deleted. (the deleted text stated that the Rakuten solution does not have any area in which it is greatly superior to Matsui Securities’ offering)

The blog goes on to detail the result of a Whois query on the offending IP address. Part of the results are reproduced below:

inetnum: 222.151.201.208 – 222.151.201.223 netname: RAKUTEN-SEC descr: Rakuten Securities,Inc. country: JP

Was this the result of an individual inside Rakuten Securities acting on his own, or reflective of a decision made at some level officially within the organisation?

As the blogger behind the netshoken blog says, Rakuten CEO Hiroshi Mikitani’s speech at the recent earnings press conference included something about Rakuten needing to evolve into a “Web2.0” company.

He and his firm should take note that Web2.0 isn’t mainly about AJAX (or DHTML/XML if you want to be fussy), nor about the use of pastel colours or rounded corners.

Regardless of the merits of the term “Web2.0”, there is undoubtedly an attempt (at least in some quarters, others just jump on the bandwagon as usual and miss the forest for the AJAX trees) at a more inclusive and cooperative model for the web.

Trying to censor unfavourable content or opinion isn’t going to work. Maybe they should think about addressing valid criticism, rather than sweeping it under the carpet.
The fact that the individual inside Rakuten, a self-professed IT company, was so clueless that s/he wasn’t aware that s/he was leaving rather obvious clues to his/her affilitation is an hilarious bonus….

Addendum:

Rakuten was sharply down today, closing at JPY53,700, down JPY5,000 or 8.52%. Reuters and Fisco both report rumours that the company and its CEO are rumoured to be the subject of a (negative) article in a weekly periodical due out tomorrow. More on that when the magazine comes out.

Japanese weeklies are a weird bunch. Many of them have girls in bikinis and articles about sex and advertisements for “massage parlours” in them, but yet they remain the most (only?) widely circulated media with any real investigative journalism actively probing the dark side of the Japanese econo-political landscape.

Addendum (added 8/31)

The magazine article appears to be mainly about a property development deal which involves the underworld. This story has been discussed in certain circles since last year, so no real news there.

Rakuten Securities released an apology regarding the Wikipedia incident, it claims an employee was acting on his own, and the employee has been reprimanded. No further details were forthcoming.

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Comments»

1. Chris_B - September 6, 2006

Amusing but not surprising. Remember the saying “if the nabe pot stinks, put a lid on it”


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