Wikipedia will block all of its English-language pages — the first time since the encylopedia’s 2001 launch that it has ever restricted access to those pages as a form of protest.
“[It’s] a decision that wasn’t lightly made,” the company said on its blog Monday. The decision to take down the free encyclopedia’s English pages was made with the input of 1800 Wikipedia users who voted overwhelmingly in favor of the blackout, according to statement from the Wikimedia Foundation.
It’s also a form of protest that isn’t for everyone.
Twitter, for example, has been a vocal opponent of both bills, but chief executive Dick Costolo said the service has no plans to participate in a blackout over the bills.
In a tweet reply to O’Reilly Media’s Alex Howard Monday, Costolo said that “closing a global business in reaction to single-issue national politics is foolish,” referring to suggestions that Twitter lacked the backbone of the other services by not shuttering its virtual doors in protest.
Costolo followed up by saying, “Not shutting down a service doesn’t equal not taking the proper stance on an issue. We’ve been very clear about our stance.”
Instead of pulling down the micro-blogging service — which many people use to run their businesses, organize activities and communicate important information — Costolo said the company will look into how it can use the platform to encourage discussion about the bills.
Technology titan Google did not join in on the blackout, but it is planning a protest of a different sort for Jan. 18. Hayley Tsukayama writes:
Google said Tuesday that it will post a statement on its Web site voicing its opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act, joining a drive that will see Reddit, Wikipedia, and Boing Boing take their Web sites dark for a period of time on Jan. 18. Google’s actions will not be as dramatic as others — Reddit and Boing Boing will take their sites down for 12 hours starting at 8 a.m., while Wikipedia will black out its English content for 24 hours on Wednesday — but the company’s decision to use its U.S. home page means that its arguments regarding SOPA will reach a huge audience.
In a statement, Google’s news team said, “Like many businesses, entrepreneurs and web users, we oppose these bills because there are smart, targeted ways to shut down foreign rogue websites without asking American companies to censor the Internet. So tomorrow we will be joining many other tech companies to highlight this issue on our US home page.”