London, Jan 19: Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales hailed the website’s 24-hour blackout protest as a success, suggesting it galvanised opposition to anti-piracy legislation in the US Congress, the Telegraph reported Thursday.
The English version of Wikipedia was inaccessible worldwide for 24 hours after 5 a.m. Wednesday.
The protest aimed to highlight the threat to its staff, volunteer editors and users perceive from the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA).
On Twitter, Wales said the page explaining the blackout and urging Americans to contact their congressmen had been viewed 162 million times. On a normal Wednesday at this time of year, Wikipedia would register up to 30 million page views, he added.
Wales also said that 35 Senators said they would oppose the PIPA, compared to only five last week, according to the newspaper.
Along with Facebook, Google and other major technology corporations, Wikipedia says the laws would place onerous obligations on websites to vet content uploaded by users, and threaten free expression online.
Critics of the blackout argued it was needless, because the White House indicated last week it would block the SOPA and the PIPA from becoming law if they were approved by Congress.
The Obama administration warned it would “not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global internet”.
Following the intervention, the authors of the SOPA and PIPA agreed to drop the proposals for website blocking, which caused most of the controversy, but Wikipedia went ahead with its protest anyway, the newspaper said.