How Scientology changed the internet

Lulu Belle


How Scientology changed the internet


What do Wikipedia, Wikileaks, Anonymous and copyright law have in common? The answer is they have all been influenced by the Church of Scientology International (CSI), as it took on ex-members and critics who took their protests on to the internet. As the Church successfully removes another website, just how big an influence has Scientology had on the internet we all use?

Last month digital rights activists at the influential Electronic Frontiers Foundation (EFF) placed the Church of Scientology into their hall of shame over what it says were repeated acts against internet freedoms.

It was just the latest twist in the Church's long-running feud with "negative" Scientology content online, one that has lasted almost two decades.


"They're kind of innovators in finding ways to censor the internet," said Dr Martin Poulter from the University of Bristol.

Dr Poulter is a lead trainer for Wikimedia UK, the British arm of the non-profit organisation that looks after Wikipedia, and often edits its Scientology pages - something the Church is no longer able to do.

"Scientology was the first organisation to be officially banned from Wikipedia," he says, referring to the landmark decision in 2009.