Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales confirmed today that the global encyclopedia will "go offline" for 24 hours this coming Wednesday to protest the SOPA anti-piracy bill.
He wrote on Twitter that the 24-hour blackout would begin from midnight from Washington DC-time. It will only affect the English version of Wikipedia.
The site will instead display a message asking users to reach out to their local U.S. Congress representatives, in a hope that the message will "melt [phone] switchboards" with volume.
Wikipedia had been toying with the idea for the past few weeks. Taking Wikipedia offline -- as one of the world's most visited sites -- will not have been taken lightly.
The German version will run a banner, and other languages will "make their own decisions", Wales said. He also said that it was a "community decision", rather than his alone.
With more than 3.8 million articles in the English Wikipedia, it will affect hundreds of millions, if not the billion mark.
This news comes the same day that the SOPA anti-piracy bill, that would allow rights holders to have websites shutdown that allegedly infringe copyright, was shelved by Congress.
While the bill is down rather than out, it was made clear after the weekend that the White House would not support any bill that does: “not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet”.
Wikipedia has more than 420 million unique monthly visitors, and over 20 million articles in 300 different languages across the network.
Image source: Twitter.
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