SOPA Blackout Jan. 18: Wikipedia Goes Offline, But Why Not Twitter?


As a protest against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) in the U.S., Wikipedia has taken its English-language site offline for 24 hours.

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But Twitter’s CEO Dick Costolo, criticizing Wikipedia’s decision, said that the micro-blogging site will not join the Jan. 18 blackout protest. Costolo said that he has planned something else and will protest the SOPA and PIPA in some other way.

In a message on Twitter, Costolo said, “that's just silly. Closing a global business in reaction to single-issue national politics is foolish."

But later Costolo clarified to Wikipedia’s founder Jimmy Wales that his comments were about Twitter and not about Wikipedia’s decision. “I don't INTENTIONALLY make value judgments about organizations for which I don't have full context," Costolo tweeted.

Wikipedia has joined other major Web sites like Reddit and Mozilla for the protest. But since Twitter is not going offline, Costolo insisted that "Not shutting down a service doesn't equal not taking the proper stance on an issue. We've been very clear about our stance."

However, Twitter’s decision to not go offline might prove to be productive because when Wikipedia and other major sites go offline, people and news organizations will need a platform to unload their reactions on the effects of the blackout protest.

Twitter, being an international micro-blogging site, is used by millions of people across the world and many non-U.S. users might not care about the protest and they are completely unaffected by the U.S. domestic policy. That is why Wikipedia has only shut down its English language site.

Even Jimmy Wales said on Twitter Monday that “Rumors of the death of SOPA may be premature. But PIPA is still going strong.”

"But the best action for twitter might be to let us continue to use the service to organize our protests,” he added.

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