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Head of Wikimedia Resigns After Search Engine Plans Leak

Head of Wikimedia Resigns After Search Engine Plans Leak

The recent leak of documents which detail Wikimedia Foundation’s plans to build a search engine have led to the resignation its executive director, Lila Tretikov. Tretikov has announced her resignation in a letter to Wikimedia and its community of volunteers.

Motherboard reports that relentless revolt following the leak of Wikimedia’s controversial search engine plans, and subsequent concerns about transparency, are what led to the executive director stepping down. Community members were up in arms over the fact that Wikimedia, a company which prides itself on transparency, withheld information about such a large project.

In an effort to quell concerns, Wikimedia ended up making matters worse for itself when it published a blog post claiming its plans had changed from what was laid out in the leaked documents. Rather than building a search engine competitor to Google, plans had shifted toward a discovery engine for Wikimedia properties.

This intensified the community’s outrage because employees claimed the organization still was not being completely transparent. Both employees and members of the community wanted Wikimedia to acknowledge it was originally working on a much larger project. The organization never admitted to these plans, instead denying that it ever intended to build a global web crawler, despite what’s in the documents.

Skeptical community members insist plans changed only because the original plans had been leaked, while pointing out that no details about any such project were included in Wikimedia’s annual plan. While community members are likely pleased their demands for Tretikov’s resignation have been met, Wikimedia is now left with the challenge of finding a new executive director and rebuilding its reputation.

Featured Image Credit: Eric Crama / Shutterstock.com


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Matt Southern

Lead News Writer at Search Engine Journal

Matt Southern has been the lead news writer at Search Engine Journal since 2013. With a degree in communications, Matt ... [Read full bio]

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