Wikimedia Foundation Transparency Report/June 2015/Voluntary Disclosures

On rare occasions, we become aware of concerning statements on the Wikimedia projects, like a suicide threat or bomb threat. We take these statements seriously and assess each one individually. As appropriate, we contact the authorities to help resolve the issue.

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The stories below are real. They are also meant to be illustrative of the kinds of situations that would warrant a possible voluntary disclosure of user information. Please note that these specific stories may not have occurred during the precise time frame that this transparency report covers. Some variables, such as the privacy of our users, may require our postponing the reporting of certain stories.

JAN – JUN 2015
Total number of disclosures

Data edit

JAN – JUN 2015
Voluntary disclosures by type
Total 14
Suicide Threats 6
Physical Threats 4
Other 4

Stories edit

A Deadly Threat edit


Our community shares threats with the Foundation when they find them. When an anonymous poster made an alleged bomb threat, we found that the edit was made from an IP address that was near the apparent threat location. As permitted by our privacy policy, we alerted local police, passing on the IP address and details we had about the threat. The police informed us they had located and arrested the person in question, who allegedly had weapons available and reportedly confessed.

Revealing Presidential Threats edit


On rare occasions we discover threats against public figures. This is uncommon, but something that happens on large websites. An individual had made specific, graphic threats against President Barack Obama. This is contrary to our policies, and against U.S. law. In cases of potential serious harm to a person, our privacy policy allows us to disclose relevant information. We immediately took action, reporting the user’s IP address, user agent information, and email address to the United States Secret Service.

Dealing with Suicide edit


Authorities advise contacting emergency services when a loved one threatens suicide. When someone shared what appeared to be a credible intent to commit suicide, we notified their local police department. The person was able to get medical help, and later let us know they were okay. If you are considering suicide, please seek out a mental health professional immediately. You can also contact emergency services; visit an emergency room or psychiatric walk-in clinic; or call a suicide prevention hotline.