Wikipedia's Jimmy Wales confirmed via Twitter that his popular website will go dark in opposition to SOPA/PIPA on January 18. Wikipedia joins news-sharing site Reddit in its voluntarily 24-hour blackout. Reddit announced its protest plans several days ago, and Wikipedia confirmed yesterday that it will follow suit, blacking out the English version of the site for a full day.
"Over the course of the past 72 hours, over 1800 Wikipedians have joined together to discuss proposed actions that the community might wish to take against SOPA and PIPA," the company said in a statement, adding that it is the largest level of participation in a community discussion that's ever been seen on Wikipedia and explaining that a blackout received the strongest support out of the proposed actions to encourage public action on opposing SOPA. As such, the English-language version of the site will go dark for 24 hours on Wednesday, January 18.
"Today Wikipedians from around the world have spoken about their opposition to this destructive legislation," said Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia. "This is an extraordinary action for our community to take - and while we regret having to prevent the world from having access to Wikipedia for even a second, we simply cannot ignore the fact that SOPA and PIPA endanger free speech both in the United States and abroad, and set a frightening precedent of Internet censorship for the world."
Wales later expressed his excitement over the blackout on Twitter but highlighted the fact that for the stunt to be successful, people need to contact their local representative and voice their concern over SOPA.
Wikipedia and Reddit are not the only sites to publicly oppose SOPA, but they are among the few that are going to go dark in protest. When asked if he would be willing to do the same with his site, Twitter CEO called the move 'silly.' In a conversation with Radar's Alexander Howard, Chief Executive Dick Costolo tweeted:
"That's just silly. Closing a global business in reaction to single-issue national politics is foolish."
However, Costolo made sure to clarify that just because Twitter isn't going dark tomorrow, it doesn't mean the company supports SOPA.
"Not shutting down a service doesn't equal not taking the proper stance on an issue. We've been very clear about our stance," he said.
Do you think sites like Twitter and Facebook should go dark tomorrow, or do you think they are more effective in their positions as platforms for discussing the effects of SOPA than acting as billboards that urge people to contact their senators? Let us know in the comments below!