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Archive:Wikipedia Zero Operating Principles

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Every day, we strive to empower people around the world to develop and share freely licensed educational content. Through the Wikipedia Zero initiative, we seek to bring the sum of all human knowledge to every single person on the planet by removing one of the biggest hurdles to access to knowledge: data charges.

Transparency and accountability are two of the guiding principles of the Wikimedia Foundation. We therefore present this statement of operating principles to provide more insight into how we will structure the Wikipedia Zero initiative moving forward.


To date, we have launched Wikipedia Zero in 59 countries with the help of 67 operators, giving an estimated 400 million people free access to Wikimedia sites. We hope these numbers will grow as we continue to expand into the Global South.


When encouraging carriers to participate in the Wikipedia Zero initiative, we will maintain our commitment to the following principles:

  • A full Wikimedia experience. Carriers will zero-rate access to the regular mobile version of Wikipedia and other Wikimedia sites in all languages. We provide a notice to users with zero-rated access. To ensure that users do not mistakenly incur data charges, they will be prompted with a notice if they are about to leave a zero-rated page.
  • Working with local Wikimedia communities. Wikipedia Zero also provides us with another opportunity to work with local community members when approaching carriers and locally promoting the free use of the Wikimedia sites.
  • Promoting open-source. Consistent with our guiding principles, the software we develop to implement Wikipedia Zero is open source licensed. We hope that this will make it easy for other similar nonprofits to spread their information to the people of the world.
  • Carriers do not get editorial control. Wikipedia articles and other Wikimedia content are community curated and will remain that way.
  • No exchange of payment. The Wikimedia Foundation does not pay carriers to zero-rate access to the Wikimedia sites and does not receive payments from carriers through Wikipedia Zero.
  • Personal user information is never shared. Carriers get the IP addresses of sites that will be zero-rated so that they can identify Wikipedia Zero traffic. Wikipedia Zero does not enable carriers to collect or receive personal information about Wikimedia users.
  • Wikipedia Zero cannot be sold as part of a bundle. Access to the Wikimedia sites through Wikipedia Zero cannot be sold through limited service bundles.
  • No exclusive rights. We try to partner with as many carriers as possible to maximize the number of users that can benefit from the initiative.
  • Limited trademark license. Carriers get a license to use Wikipedia trademarks to promote Wikipedia Zero. They cannot use the trademarks to suggest that they are sponsored, approved, or endorsed by the Wikimedia Foundation or Wikipedia.
  • Open to collaborating with other public interest sites. Our main goal is to promote free access to knowledge and we want to help other similar services interested in doing the same (just ping us!).

Specific terms

Attached you will find a template agreement that we provide to carriers. During the early development of Wikipedia Zero, we explored different approaches and negotiated different terms with participating carriers. Going forward we want to structure the initiative around these specific terms and the principles discussed above.