News24

Wikipedia blasts porn charge

2010-04-29 11:18

San Francisco - Wikipedia on Wednesday strongly rejected its departed co-founder's accusation that the online encyclopaedia served up child pornography.

"Our community abhors issues around pornography and paedophilia and they don't want to provide opportunities for these things to take place," said Wikipedia spokesperson Jay Walsh.

"We don't have material we would deem to be illegal. If we did, we would remove it."

Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger, who left the project in 2002 due to what he described as disagreements, said in an online post that he was probably mistaken to use the term "child pornography" when describing his complaint about drawings or cartoons accompanying some paedophilia-related entries.

"I didn't realise that it would be so misleading," Sanger said.

"It didn't occur to me until afterward that many people restrict 'child pornography' to mean photographs of real children. If I had realised this sooner, I would have used 'depictions of child sexual abuse' instead."

Civic duty

Sanger detailed his concerns in a letter sent to the FBI early in April.

"I thought I was doing my civic duty, one that I didn't really want to do, but which I felt I ought to do," Sanger said.

As of Wednesday, neither Wikipedia nor the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation behind the online encyclopaedia had heard from the authorities, according to Walsh.

"As a serious, law-abiding organisation we would work with these folks," he said.

Wikipedia is a communally-crafted online compendium of knowledge that is administered with the help of some 100 000 volunteer editors.

"In general there is a constant change in information at Wikipedia," Walsh said. "If inappropriate material is posted volunteers remove it immediately."