Wikimedia UK has ‘deep concerns’ over Online Safety Bill

Wikimedia UK Online Safety Bill Image credit: Shutterstock

Wikimedia UK, part of the organisation responsible for Wikipedia, has expressed “deep concerns” over the impending Online Safety Bill.

The organisation’s concern lies with amendment nine of the bill, which would require any additions or changes to the content on its website would require authorisation from a barrister.

In a statement obtained by UKTN, Wikimedia UK said:

“To give an idea of the scale of this problem; worldwide there are two edits per second across Wikipedia’s 300+ languages. The English language version has 555 articles per day; Wikipedia is growing fast both in size and quality.”

It went on to say managing its growth rate would be “impossible to imagine” and “over-moderation” would have to occur.

Rebecca MacKinnon, VP of global advocacy, Wikimedia Foundation, said: “As currently drafted, the Online Safety Bill would require internet platforms to verify the age of users. As host of Wikipedia and other volunteer-run free knowledge projects, the Wikimedia Foundation will not be verifying the age of UK readers or contributors.”

MacKinnon says the bill would require a “drastic overhaul” of its technical interface and “violate” its minimal data commitment.

Wikimedia UK is not the only organisation that is taking issue with the Online Safety Bill. Earlier this month saw executives from messaging apps express concern over the possibility to remove encryption.

Meta owned WhatsApp last month said it would not alter its encryption as a result of the bill.

In February, the messaging app Signal announced if the Online Safety Bill affects encryption that it will not operate in the UK.