Wikipedia Zero Will Be Discontinued This Year, 800 Million People Affected

wikimedia shuts down wikipedia zero

Wikipedia has grown to be quite important due to its huge database of articles of practically anything and you can learn a lot from it. It is one of the top websites in terms of traffic and its importance cannot be ignored.

In a move to make sure that more people can access the service, Wikimedia Foundation ( the organization behind Wikipedia) announced Wikipedia Zero way back in 2012. Well, now the foundation has decided to end the Wikipedia Zero program, which is quite surprising.

Wikimedia says that in the 6 years of operation, they were able to partner with 97 mobile carriers in 72 countries which led to more than 800 million people access Wikipedia for free. However, they noticed that since 2016, there has been a ‘significant drop in adoption and interest in the program’ and was probably attributed to the change in mobile data costs.

They also said that “there are many barriers to making this vision a reality” where the vision is to create the world’s knowledge. The organization didn’t specify the other barriers apart from the change in data costs, but you can guess that they include such aspects like net neutrality which thanks to its zero rating model, regulators could be wary of it.

Nevertheless, this move could hurt the millions out there who used the service for free without incurring data costs and will have to revert to the previous model of getting data bundles to access Wikipedia. However, they have a plan and it involves increased awareness of Wikipedia which has led to the increased awareness of the service by more than 30% in Iraq for example, so this could be the way forward for the organization.