Google supports, Twitter mocks Wikipedia blackout

Protesting US legislation its says harms Internet freedom, Wikipedia shuts down for a day; Google supports the cause, Twitter calls it "silly."

January 18, 2012 13:53
2 minute read.
Wikipedia blackout.

Wikipedia blackout 311. (photo credit: Wikipedia)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


As Wikipedia, the popular user-written free Internet encyclopedia, blacked out its English-language site for 24 hours on Wednesday to protest US anti-piracy legislation, Internet giant Google added its voice to the cause, but remained operational.

Wikipedia says the legislation, called the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the US House of Representatives and PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) in the US Senate, "will harm the free and open Internet and bring about new tools for censorship of international websites inside the United States."

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

‘I want to harm Israel,’ Saudi hacker tells ‘Post’
Ayalon: Cyberspace attacks should be treated as terrorism

While Google added a link to its homepage urging Internet searchers to "Tell Congress: Please don't censor the web!" it decided to keep its search engine and other services operational. Other Internet companies like Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter and Ebay have all run ads urging lawmakers to rethink their approach.

Wikipedia's decision to blackout the website in protest for a day emerged from online discussions including over 1,800 "Wikipedians," active members in Wikipedia's online community.

Not every Internet company thought the blackout was so great, however. Twitter CEO Dick Costolo tweeted, "that's just silly. Closing a global business in reaction to single-issue national politics is foolish."

The legislation, which had appeared to be on a fast track for approval by Congress, appears likely to be scaled back or jettisoned entirely in the wake of critical comments over the weekend from the White House, people familiar with the matter said.

The proposed laws have been a major priority for entertainment companies, publishers, pharmaceutical firms and many industry groups, who say it is critical to curbing online piracy that costs them billions of dollars a year.

The legislation is designed to shut down access to overseas websites that traffic in stolen content or counterfeit goods.

Internet companies have furiously opposed the legislation and have ramped up their lobbying efforts in recent months, arguing the legislation would undermine innovation and free speech rights and compromise the functioning of the Internet.

In addition to Wikipedia several popular websites, including the social media site Reddit, have vowed to black out their sites in protest, while Internet advocates called for a boycott of any companies that support the legislation.

With public sentiment on the bill shifting in recent weeks and an implicit veto threat now emerging from the White House, Congressional staffers are resigning themselves to writing replacement language or possibly entirely new bills.

The White House said in a blog post over the weekend that it wouldn't support "legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet."

Three key section of the existing legislation seem likely to remain, a person familiar with the matter says. They comprise provisions aimed at getting search engines to disable links to foreign infringing sites; provisions that cut off advertising services to those sites; and provisions that cut off payment processing.

The debate seems likely to intensify in the coming weeks. The White House said it would soon host a conference call among opponents of the existing bill.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Anti-government protesters demonstrate on a street in central Ankara
June 16, 2013
Thousands take to streets of Istanbul, defy Erdogan