Russia launches its own 'Wikipedia'

By bne IntelliNews November 17, 2014

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It's already got its own search engine called Sputnik, but now in an effort to better control the contents on RuNet, the Kremlin plans to launch its own version of Wikipedia.  The Russian version of the user-generated encyclopaedia is designed to give "citizens more detailed and reliable" information about their country, the presidential library said in a statement last week.

Critics will say that the information on a Russian government-generated site will be bowdlerised and one-sided, and yet another attempt by the Kremlin to better control the content on the Russian-language version of the internet. 

The Sputnik search engine was launched by state-controlled telecom giant Rostelecom on May 22 and registered more than 2m visitors, including 550,000 people in the first day of work, Rostelecom said at the time. 

Sputnik's most popular sections were its news aggregator, the medications service and online TV. Citizens of Moscow, St Petersburg, Novosibirsk and Yekaterinburg were the most active users, Rostelecom said.

In keeping with Russia's conservative values, the engine is supposed to be family-friendly. But in a colossal screw up when testing the engine's ability to detect nudity in photos, the engineers accidently flooded the system with porn pictures that had been stored for the testing phase. 

A filter was supposed to scan the colour and shape of images, as well as the portion of a nude body, then decide if the image is of an erotic character. If the answer is yes, the photo will not be added into the search engine's gallery. Similar video filters will be introduced next year.

 

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