large image

Trusted Reviews is supported by its audience. If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

Big Tech firms are facing a big bill from Wikipedia – here’s why

Wikipedia’s parent company has announced it is to begin charging major technology companies to access the online encyclopaedia’s vast trove of knowledge.

The Wikipedia Enterprise initiative will launch later this year and could see the likes of Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon paying fees to access content they’ve been using without traditional compensation for years.

Until now, the burden has been on benevolent Wikipedia users to keep the non-profit Wikipedia Foundation via donations – of which the aforementioned firms are often among – but now the balance will be redressed by tech giants and, eventually, smaller companies.

“Wikimedia Enterprise is a new product from the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit that operates Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects,” the foundation says. “Wikimedia Enterprise provides paid developer tools and services that make it easier for companies and organisations to consume and re-use Wikimedia data.”

Related: Best VPN

The new initiative was announced on Tuesday and came to light via a Wired report, which revealed conversations are ongoing between Wikimedia and a number of tech giants who’re already in discussions over an agreement.

“This is the first time the foundation has recognised that commercial users are users of our service,” says Wikimedia Foundation senior director Lane Becker in an interview. “We’ve known they are there, but we never really treated them as a user base.”

Apple, for example, leverages Wikipedia for Siri’s knowledge bank, but currently doesn’t officially pay for that content. It does match employee donations to Wikipedia though.

Amazon uses the tech for Alexa and donated $1 million in 2018. Google, who heavily leverages results from Wikipedia in Search while using excepts in its knowledge boxes, donated $2 million in 2019. Facebook also chucked in a million in 2018. It’s not clear how regular those donations have been since.

Do you think it’s time Big Tech started footing the bill for Wikipedia? Will it help to secure the non-profit company’s future? Let us know @trustedreviews on Twitter.

Why trust our journalism?

Founded in 2004, Trusted Reviews exists to give our readers thorough, unbiased and independent advice on what to buy.

Today, we have millions of users a month from around the world, and assess more than 1,000 products a year.

author icon

Editorial independence

Editorial independence means being able to give an unbiased verdict about a product or company, with the avoidance of conflicts of interest. To ensure this is possible, every member of the editorial staff follows a clear code of conduct.

author icon

Professional conduct

We also expect our journalists to follow clear ethical standards in their work. Our staff members must strive for honesty and accuracy in everything they do. We follow the IPSO Editors’ code of practice to underpin these standards.