According to the latest news, the Wikimedia Foundation is going to create a new paid service for companies that use Wikipedia data. Earlier this week, Wikimedia foundation announced the news via an article in Wired. The foundation is planning to launch it later this year.
Wikimedia Enterprise won’t change how current Wikipedia services work, instead, it will come with a new paid offering exclusively for companies that use its content. As of now, Wikimedia is still finalizing how Wikimedia Enterprise will operate.
It seems to be like a premium version of Wikipedia’s API. Note that this API is a tool that lets anybody scrape and re-host Wikipedia articles. With this, paid Wikimedia Enterprise customers would get data delivered faster or in a formatted version to meet their unique demands.
Lane Becker, the senior director of Wikimedia Foundation explained to Wired that most probably companies are paying their employees to clean up Wikipedia data. From now on, the Enterprise will do the cleanup at the source. He clarified that Wikimedia is not forcing big techs to pay so if companies want, they can keep using the existing API for free like any other individual.
Currently, Wikipedia powers many huge internet services. Even Google’s “knowledge boxes”, Amazon’s Alexa, and Apple’s Siri incorporate information from Wikipedia. Recently, misinformation has been a big issue and several web platforms attempted to fight it. During this, Wikipedia has become like a go-to fact-checking resource. Some of the companies have offered donations in return to Wikimedia for using its free services but others have launched Wikipedia powered initiatives without even informing the foundation.
Frequently asked questions page of Wikimedia clearly says that the Enterprise is not “forcing Big Tech to pay” for Wikipedia but it could solve specific problems for those companies such as displaying the most reliably community vetted edits instead of the newest ones.
In an essay, the Wikimedia Enterprise team has acknowledged that it is balancing commercial realities with a mission to make free knowledge accessible to everyone. The essay reads, “This is about setting up the movement to thrive for decades to come, to weather any storm, and to genuinely stand a chance at achieving the mission first conceived 20 years ago. We’re going to need more resources, more partners, and more allies if we are going to achieve the goals implicit in our vision statement.”