Setting the Record Straight
March 19, 2011 6:49 PM Subscribe
ICorrect: The universal website for corrections to lies, misinformation and misrepresentations
The article from Hong Kong's unlinkable South China Morning Post:
Entrepreneur David Tang Wing-cheung is on a mission to help the rich and famous set the record straight.
His new brainchild is Icorrect, a website where celebrities can rectify untruths said about them.
Take British actor Michael Caine. For years he has been mimicked with the words: "Not many people know that."
Caine has already gone to Icorrect to point out: "I have never said, 'Not many people know that.' Peter Sellers said it when he impersonated my voice on his telephone answering machine. His impersonation was, 'This is Michael Caine, Peter Sellers is out. Not many people know that.'
"I do not mind something clever being attributed to me, but I do mind something stupid that I did not say or do."
Celebrities today have Twitter pages where they can right the wrongs themselves. But Tang argues that Icorrect goes further when it comes to correcting popular misconceptions. Plus, he says, it has respectability.
"Twitter is much more impulsive and impermanent. Icorrect is more considered and permanent.
"Twitter has a limit on words of 140 characters where as on Icorrect you can write as much as you want."
He also pointed out that there are no identity checks on Twitter.
"Anyone can pretend to be Kate Moss or Sienna Miller, when the truth is that neither of them use Twitter at all. Icorrect has an identity check which ensures that people are who they say they are.
"If they do not produce the details needed to verify themselves they will not be allowed on the site."
If the person involved agrees to the identity check and is verified, for a fee of US$1,000 they can have their correction placed on the site.
On the website, accusations and corrections are juxtaposed, so readers can see both. The plan is to translate the website into different languages to make it even more global and accessible. Tang, who has a knighthood, said: "It's not just for refuting tabloid newspaper claims or the like either.
"It could be a great statesman like Henry Kissinger who might want to correct something that was wrongly attributed to him about the decisions he made concerning Cambodia."
He added: "The problem with cyberspace is that 90 per cent of what's said about people is hearsay.
"I know people feel very aggrieved at times when things are written about them when it's untrue. This is a way of addressing that, to give the subject some say or a right to reply."
Tang reiterated that he wasn't trying to play the fame game or promote the notion of celebrity.
He said: "It's not just about celebrities. It's an opportunity for organisations, institutions and corporations to clarify and correct common misconceptions.
"This includes the likes of historians and statesmen as well."
He said whatever is posted on the site is recorded there for ever and the selling point is that it is the undeniable truth, verified by the subjects themselves. "That's why I think a site like Icorrect is very useful," he said.
"The website may take some time to build up, but then so did Facebook and Twitter."
He has set the ball rolling himself by putting some corrections of his own on the website. One refers to an article in Britain's The Mail On Sunday which accused Tang of being "a creep".
In his correction, Tang said that this description of him was "greatly exaggerated".