According to a report in Der Spiegel, someone on the IP address 18.104.22.168 removed the section entitled “Lobbying” from Daimler AG’s German Wikipedia article on February 22. The address was traced to a server belonging to Daimler.
The section, based on reports in Die Welt newspaper and Germany’s state broadcaster websitetagesschau.de, said that Daimler, along with German carmakers BMW and Porsche, had been awarded the “Worst EU Lobbying Award” in 2007 for a concerted campaign to “dilute and delay CO2 reduction targets.”
The article also mentioned that a senior Daimler executive had worked in the Transport Ministry during the awarding of contracts to operate Germany’s road toll system for long-haul vehicles.
A Wikipedia user with the username “Inkowik” reinstated the section, in keeping with Wikipedia’s policy of not allowing interest groups to manipulate articles.
Daimler spokesman Florian Martens insisted that the changes had not been ordered by the company. “Clearly these are independent, private changes made by employees,” he said.
His explanation was backed up by the fact that the same IP address also altered articles about “Muesli” and “Victoria of Sweden” at the same time.
Last year, Daimler came under fire for disciplining employees who criticized the company’s CEO Dieter Zetsche and Chancellor Angela Merkel on their Facebook profiles.