Wikipedia Blackout in protest against SOPA
Wikipedia Blackout in protest against SOPA

Despite being unavailable in English for 24 hours, Wikipedia recorded higher traffic than usual to its site during the blackout on 18 January to protest against Sopa and Pipa.

Site founder Jimmy Wales made the English-speaking version of Wikipedia - which normally receives around 25 million visitors a day - display a black screen and a message urging visitors to complain about the controversial piracy acts.

In the UK, Wikipedia jumped up from the ninth most viewed site to the eighth, raking in 5.8 million visitors - 200,000 more than usual.

But it was the mobile version of Wikipedia - which remained fully available - that saw the most dramatic rise, with UK traffic increasing by one million visits, according to research firm Experian Hitwise.

"1 in every 7 visits to Wikipedia came from a smartphone or tablet yesterday, a 14% increase in mobile visits from the previous day," Hitwise said.

The Wikimedia Foundation announced on Thursday that the blackout had been a huge success: "162 million of you saw our blackout page asking if you could imagine a world without free knowledge. You said no. You shut down the Congressional switchboards, and you melted their servers. Your voice was loud and strong."

As the blackout took place, phrases like 'factswithoutwikipedia' and 'sopastrike' began appearing as trending topics on Twitter; according to Wikimedia the hashtag #wikipediablackout constituted one percent of all tweets sent during the first hour of the blackout.

The International Movie Database (IMDB) also saw an increase in traffic, as users desperately searched elsewhere for information while Wikipedia was offline. IMDB saw its traffic increase by 12 percent during the blackout and it was the next port of call for 3.4 percent of Wikipedia visitors.

Shortly after the blackout was put in place, it was found that any Wikipedia page could still be viewed by quickly pressing the Esc key as the page loaded, thus stopping the replacement blackout page from appearing.