Wiki pornography fight escalates

A
row over sexually explicit content on the web encyclopaedia Wikipedia and
related sites has escalated.

Co-founder
Jimmy Wales has given up some of his site privileges following protests by
contributors angered that he deleted images without consultation.

Mr
Wales had previously urged the removal of “pornographic” content from
the user-generated site.

This
followed a complaint about “child pornography” to the FBI from
another Wikipedia co-founder.

In
early April, the estranged co-founder, Larry Sanger, reported Wikimedia Commons
to the FBI, alleging that the organisation was “knowingly distributing
child pornography”.

He
later clarified that his concern was not about photographs of children, but
“obscene visual representations of the abuse of children”, which can
include drawings and sculpture.

Last
week, administrators of Wikimedia Commons, a media file store widely used for
Wikipedia articles, deleted hundreds of images.

Some
images deemed by the Wikipedia community to have educational merit have since
been reinstated.

Mr
Wales had earlier posted his support for the removal of “images that are
of little or no educational value but which appeal solely to prurient interests”,
deleting many pictures himself.

Pressure
on the organisation had increased after Fox News reported the story, contacting
a number of high-profile corporate donors to the Wikimedia Foundation, which
owns Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons and related sites.

It
asked whether the donors were aware of “the extent of sexually explicit
content” on Wikimedia Commons.

It
is not clear whether Mr Wales’s support for the removal of explicit content was
in response to Mr Sanger’s concerns, pressure from Fox News, or something else.

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