January 17, 2012
Joining the protest against two proposed federal Internet regulation bills, Wikipedia's English-language site will be blacked out for all of Wednesday, co-founder Jimmy Wales announced on Twitter today.
Beginning at midnight ET on Jan. 18, visitors will see a protest message for 24 hours, Wales tweeted. The move will affect 30 million to 40 million users, he said, correcting an initial figure of 100 million.
"This is going to be wow," read one of his tweets.
Wikipedia and several other sites are calling on lawmakers to block the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA). They are concerned the laws will "hold website owners liable for links to sources of illegal music and movie downloading, with a detrimental effect on free speech online," The Financial Times reports.
Reddit and the Cheezburger network, which includes such sites as The Daily What and Fail Blog, also plan to shut down to protest SOPA, The Washington Post reports. The document service Scribd already made a billion pages vanish in protest, the Post says.
Craigslist posted a message to all its users explaining it and other websites' opposition to the bills.