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SOPA blackout, Orange partnership

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By Aude, Rd232

SOPA blackout

On 18 January (from 05:00 UTC) the English Wikipedia joined thousands of other web sites in protesting SOPA and PIPA by blacking out its own content for 24 hours.[1] Exceptions from the blackout were made for read-only access to pages about the protest and articles relating to SOPA and PIPA. The purpose of the blackout was twofold: to raise public awareness, and to encourage people to share their views with their elected representatives.

Blackout screen – shown 18 January 2012 05.00 UTC to 19 January 2012 05.00 UTC
Edits per minute drop to nearly zero during the blackout
During the blackout:
  • The Wikipedia page about SOPA and PIPA was accessed more than 162 million times during the 24 hour period.[2]
  • More than 12,000 people commented on the Wikimedia Foundation's blog post announcing the blackout.[3] Most supported the blackout.
  • More than eight million looked up their elected representatives' contact information via the Wikipedia tool.[2] The Senate's web site was unable to accommodate the number of citizens attempting to use its contact forms.[4]
  • Anti-SOPA and PIPA topics began trending globally on Twitter immediately after the blackout began. Hashtags included #factswithoutwikipedia, #SOPAstrike, and #wikipediablackout. At one point, 1% of all tweets carried the #wikipediablackout tag,[5] and the term SOPA was used in a quarter-million tweets hourly during the blackout.[6]
  • A quick search of SOPA blackout on Google News yielded 9,500 links as of 13:30 Pacific standard time, January 19.[7]
Spanish Wikipedia with a banner supporting English Wikipedia's SOPA protest

English Wikipedia's blackout was supported by dozens of other Wikimedia communities, typically with a blackout banner, as recorded at Wikipedia:SOPA initiative/Actions by other communities. Many other websites participated in the protests against SOPA and PIPA on 18 January, but English Wikipedia's blackout featured prominently in media coverage (Wikipedia:SOPA initiative/Media) – see "In the News" in this issue of the Signpost.

After the blackout the Wikimedia Foundation's Brandon Harris posted a blog entry on the blackout implementation process, focussing on the blackout screen and banner design considerations.

Wikipedia available data-charge free on Orange

Mobile service provider Orange has made a three-year commitment, in partnership with the Wikimedia Foundation, to provide access to Wikipedia without data charges to customers in 20 countries in the Middle East and Africa. The service will initially be offered in Tunisia and Cote d'Ivoire, beginning in a few months. The partnership between Orange and the Wikimedia Foundation is service-based and does not involve money.

Wikipedia access is provided via a lightweight "Wikipedia Zero", developed by the Wikimedia Foundation; however, the Orange service is not being branded as "Wikipedia Zero", as that may cause confusion with Facebook Zero. Wikipedia is provided as text-only, reducing bandwidth loads, and if a user clicks on an image, they will incur data charges (with warning).

Brief notes


  1. ^ This link shows the blackout page as it appeared during the protest.
  2. ^ a b Wikimedia Foundation (January 19, 2012). "Wikipedia blackout supports free and open internet" (Press release). Note: The figure, which upon further review is actually about 164 million, reflects unique page impressions, not unique people. Detailed analysis to assess duplication would be costly.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "On SOPA blackout day, Senate Web sites experience 'technical difficulties'". January 18, 2012.
  5. ^ "".
  6. ^ "".
  7. ^ See the number of articles listed here:
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A bit of an aside, but how should one read the ebb and flow of the edits per minute chart? I assume the peaks are during evening in America? Lampman (talk) 10:57, 26 January 2012 (UTC)[reply]

It seems to peak around 19:00 UTC, when most of the western world is awake (1pm - 4pm for the US). Jujutacular talk 13:19, 26 January 2012 (UTC)[reply]
Interesting that the usual ebb and flow cycle was disrupted the next day after the blackout. The normal peak around 19:00 was late. Powers T 14:35, 26 January 2012 (UTC)[reply]


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