Human rights commitments

This Transparency Report is a reflection of the Wikimedia Foundation’s commitments to carry out human rights due diligence related to freedom of expression and privacy, and to track and publicly report on these obligations. Wikimedia platforms allow internet users to exercise their right to freedom of expression for the common good. However, a range of governments and private actors try to interfere with that right by using the legal process to protect their interests. In such situations, individuals’ right to freedom of expression are threatened when these actors submit content alteration or removal requests to the Wikimedia Foundation. In response to these threats, the Foundation thoroughly reviews each request and only acts upon those with a valid legal basis.

The Wikimedia Movement envisions a world in which every single human being can freely share and participate in the creation of all knowledge and Foundation staff and readers are at the heart of the human rights of volunteer contributors. For this vision to thrive, people must be able exercise their right to seek, receive, and impart information freely. The Foundation’s Board of Trustees affirmed this commitment when it approved the Foundation’s Human Rights Policy on 8 December 2021, which outlines a series of obligations the Foundation will carry out to this end. Specifically, the Foundation will conduct ongoing human rights due diligence and track and publicly report on efforts to meet human rights commitments. In addition to these commitments, the Foundation is also  a new member of the Global Network Initiative in order to advance users’ rights to freedom of expression and privacy on Wikimedia projects.

The Transparency Report also shows how often we receive requests for user information. Similar to content alteration or removal requests, the Foundation scrutinizes each request for user data and discloses such information only when there is a valid legal basis or voluntarily under rare emergency circumstances. Since the right to privacy is at the core of how communities contribute to Wikimedia projects, upholding this right is central to our human rights commitments. The Foundation’s Privacy Policy protects users’ data by allowing them to partake in knowledge sharing activities across our platforms without providing any personal details. Users, however, may voluntarily provide limited personal information if they choose to create an account.  In practice, the Foundation collects and retains such little information that it is often impossible to provide user data, regardless of the nature of the request. Combined, this due diligence ensures that the Foundation upholds the rights of volunteer contributors to impart knowledge, and the rights of Wikimedia readers to seek and receive knowledge.

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