Obscenity concerns about Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia adult content, the handling of adult content suffers from similar problems. Hundreds of masturbation videos and penis images in Wikimedia Commons testify to a well-developed and unchecked culture of anonymous sexual exhibitionism.

Internet sites owned by the Wikimedia Foundation, including the online encyclopaedia Wikipedia, have become increasingly important. The Wikimedia Foundation has become a highly visible organisation with a $80 million annual income from donations. But however successful in many respects, the Wikimedia principle of “crowdsourcing” by anonymous contributors creates significant and ongoing problems in several areas, eg. handling of adult content.

The handling of adult content suffers from similar problems. Hundreds of masturbation videos and penis images in Wikimedia Commons testify to a well-developed and unchecked culture of anonymous sexual exhibitionism. The most accessed pages are almost all sexual images. Sexual material hosted in Wikipedia and/or Wikimedia Commons includes –
• photographs of sexual acts including ejaculation, ordinary penetration, masturbation with vegetables, toothbrushes and children’s toys, and the drinking of urine,
• old, out-of-copyright pornographic films featuring penetration, fellatio and ejaculation, • pornographic drawings with motifs ranging from bestiality to incestuous child abuse. This material is available unfiltered, to minors and adults alike. Personality rights and privacy are treated in a cavalier way. The word of an anonymous uploader is taken as sufficient assurance that the person depicted – possibly in the process of engaging in a sexual act in a non-public place – is aware of and has consented to the upload.

The absence of any kind of content rating or search filter, such as the one used in Google, means that sexual images may be and are included in search results for innocent search terms that no user would expect to return sexual media. For example, searching for a particular children’s toy in Wikimedia Commons returns as its first search result an image where the toy in question is used by an adult for sexual gratification.