Payday loan troll doesn't know right from Wonga...
Oh Wonga. You probably thought you had improved your public image recently, what with your founder telling us how important you are for social mobility and how you don’t lend money to just anyone, not to mention your new elderly puppets being far more user-friendly than overweight sweaty Cockneys. However, new revelations reveal that, while the company is undoubtedly still a model of good and responsible behaviour, its employees are spiteful, underhand trolls.
A Guardian investigation revealed that a Twitter troll who had been bombarding Labour MP Stella Creasy with insults such as "mental", "nuts", and a "self-serving egomaniac" just happened to be a Wonga employee, who was tweeting from Wonga’s London premises. Dr Creasy has, of course, been openly critical of the payday loans market. Furthermore, the same IP address has been ‘editing’ Wonga’s Wikipedia entry, to remove “substantial portions from the criticism section” as well as deleting such subjective and defamatory accurate terms such as “high-interest” from the description of their service.
The twitter account in question, @DanielSargant1 was coincidentally deleted immediately after the Guardian started asking questions, but Wonga have since admitted the account was one of their junior employees:
"We can confirm one of our junior employees may have made unauthorised comments on a blog, and elsewhere on the web, while not identifying themselves correctly. This is an issue that Wonga takes extremely seriously, as we are committed to openness and transparency. We are now carrying out a full investigation and, if the employee is found to be responsible, they will face serious disciplinary action."
Interestingly, the IP address used for both Twitter and Wikipedia corresponds to the one used by ‘OpenWonga’ blog editor Luke Manning, who has written a blog about the whole sorry experience here. This also appears to be, some 20 hours after the story broke, the first chance Wonga got to actually apologise to Stella Creasy. Creasy has now asked Wonga, as a gesture of goodwill, to promote an event she is organising in her Walthamstow constituency on Saturday 24 November to help families struggling financially. She is yet to hear from the company.
While the Guardian’s sources suggest ‘Daniel Sargant’ is not, in fact, Luke Manning, the fact that he is willing to amend Wikipedia doesn’t seem to fit with the mission statement for OpenWonga:
“And that’s the whole point of OpenWonga really. It’s a bold move for any private company to make; a chance for Wonga to be as transparent as possible and let people make informed decisions based on facts rather than assumptions.”
But remember folks, Wonga want to “listen, learn, discuss and improve”, and the best way to do that is for them to manipulate public information and to publicly insult people who disagree with them. Let’s all go down to Wonga!