No More Free Wikipedia in Developing Countries

The Outline has a story up today about how Wikipedia used to not count against data plans in certain countries . . . and how that’s no longer the case.  Before it was terminated, the Wikipedia Zero program gave 800 million people in select countries free access to Wikipedia.

According to Caroline Haskins:

The countries in the Wikipedia Zero program — which included India, Malaysia, and Niger — have populations that are more likely to use phones than computers to access the internet. At the time of Wikipedia Zero’s launch, 85 percent of phones sold worldwide were internet-capable, but only 15 percent of people paid to access internet data. By giving preferential access to Wikipedia, the Wikipedia Zero program arguably promoted the antithesis of net neutrality: mobile carriers would provide unrestricted access to the site without charging customers the related data fees. But the service gave access to an enormous repository of information (even if content was not available in every local language) [ . . .] on a global scale, the morality of net neutrality becomes more muddled — it’s unclear whether the end of Wikipedia Zero is more of a “win” for net neutrality, or a loss for global equality in information access.

Read the full piece over at The Outline.