As we have seen in the case of developers and companies launching “Lite” versions of their apps designed for developing countries, this is an approach also taken by Wikipedia when they launched their Wikipedia Zero program. Unfortunately it looks like the program will be shutting down and phased out through 2018.

For those unfamiliar, Wikipedia Zero was an initiative created by the Wikipedia Foundation in 2012 to help spread Wikipedia to more countries around the world, especially in developing countries where internet was slow and data was expensive. The idea was that through partnerships with local carriers, accessing Wikipedia would not count towards the user’s data allowance, thus making it “free” to be accessed.

The reason behind the shut down is because the foundation found that awareness of Wikipedia outside of North America and Europe was low. It was also suggested that because of cost of data going down that there was a lesser need for such initiatives like Wikipedia Zero. While the program will be coming to an end, the foundation did state that they do plan to “explore other ways we can leverage the findings from our research and the Wikipedia Zero program to direct future work with partners.”

It is unclear as to how many people might be truly affected by the Wikipedia Zero program shutting down, but if you do use it then it’s something to think about and perhaps seek alternatives for the future.

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