Wikimedia Director Resigns Following Internal Row Over Search Engine Plans

Lila Tretikov, the Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit organisation that runs Wikipedia, has resigned following an internal feud over the organisation’s plans to launch its own search engine, known as the Knowledge Engine. Treitkov’s exit follows the departure of James Heilman from the WMF Board of Trustees over a lack of transparency by the non-profit of the Knowledge Engine project, which is being part-funded by a grant from the Knight Foundation.

In a letter to Wikimedia members, Treitkov wrote:

“It is with great respect that I have tendered, and the board has accepted, my resignation as Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation earlier this week. I am both inspired by, and proud of, the many great things we have all accomplished at the Foundation over the last two years, most significantly reversing the loss of our editorial community. I would like to thank our Board of trustees.”

While Treitkov does not refer to the Knowledge Engine as the motivator behind her departure, Jason Koebler of Vice Motherboard understands that, as the driving force behind the development of WMF’s search engine, the former Executive Director is being sacrificed to appease disgruntled Wikimedia members.

News of the WMF’s Knowledge Engine plan was broken by Wikipedia Signpost board member Andreas Kolbe, despite a previous denial from founder Jimmy Wales that the organisation was building a search engine.

Image courtesy of The Guardian.

Wikipedia Adds an Extra Layer of Security for Its Readers

Wikipedia just took security up a notch and added some extra security measures for its readers. The founders want to make connections between Wikimedia websites and their users more secure to share and view content.

The extra security measure involves HTTPS as the default encryption protocol being used from now on, along with HSTS (HTTP Strict Transport Security) to protect users from hackers trying to ‘break’ into the secure connections.

“Today, we’re happy to announce that we are in the process of implementing HTTPS by default to encrypt all Wikimedia traffic. We will also use HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) to protect against efforts to ‘break’ HTTPS and intercept traffic.” Wikimedia wrote on their website. “With this change, the nearly half a billion people who rely on Wikipedia and its sister projects every month will be able to share in the world’s knowledge more securely.”

HTTPS connections have been available since 2011 for Wikipedia and its sister websites, but users needed to use the protocol manually. However, in 2013, Wikipedia made HTTPS the default protocol for authenticated users. Now, both authenticated and anonymous users are able to browse Wikimedia websites using HTTPS automatically, regard of whether they are logged in or not.

The founders also stated that migrating to HTTPS as the default connection protocol was not easy and required years of work involving teams from across the Wikimedia Foundation. Nevertheless, their hard work paid off and users can now browse more securely on their websites. But we want to hear your opinion as users too. Do you feel more secure now that HTTPS is widely available in Wikipedia? Let us know!

Image courtesy of