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Wikipedia founder launches charity-focused social network

Some of you will be aware that Wikipedia is run by the not-for-profit Wikimedia Foundation, but its founder Jimmy Wales is branching out into other charity work.

The online entrepreneur is launching The People’s Operator (TPO), which is being described as a social network that enables individuals to donate to charities more easily.

Read more: Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales “London is a better place to live than Silicon Valley”

Members of TPO are able to follow charities, individual fundraisers and important causes and donate to them as and when they want to. Crucially, this platform differs from other examples of social media by being an advertisement-free zone. Wales believes that most social networks view its users as commodities and privacy is increasingly being compromised in order to serve members targeted ads.

The People’s Operator is being funded by a mobile network provider of the same name and anyone using this network will also be helping charitable causes.

“We plan to get millions of customers this way and raise billions of dollars for whatever causes you care about,” the TPO website explains “When you sign up for the TPO's mobile network we send 10 per cent of the bill to a cause of your choice at no cost to you. This is a one-of-a kind mobile network with the power to raise billions for good causes.”

The People Operator was founded in 2012, but Wikipedia founder Wales did not join the company as chairman until two years later. The foundation supports a number of well-known causes including British Heart Foundation, the World Wildlife Fund and the NSPCC.

TPO’s social network offering will operate in a similar vein to Twitter and will allow users to share status updates, photos and videos, but will also have pages devoted to charitable causes, including its many officially recognised partners.

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The difficultly facing Wales and The People’s Operator is that many will already be following their favourite charities on Twitter or Facebook, so convincing them to jump ship could prove a hard sell.

Barclay has been writing about technology for a decade, starting out as a freelancer with IT Pro Portal covering everything from London’s start-up scene to comparisons of the best cloud storage services.  After that, he spent some time as the managing editor of an online outlet focusing on cloud computing, furthering his interest in virtualization, Big Data, and the Internet of Things.