1Graphic of hourglass, coloured in blue and grey; a circular map of the eastern hemisphere of the world drips from the top to bottom chamber of the hourglass.
The logo of WikiLeaks, an hourglass with a globe leaking from top to bottom
WikiLeaks homepage screenshot
Screenshot of WikiLeaks' main page as of 27 June 2011
Type of site
Document archive and disclosure
Available inEnglish, but the source documents are in their original language
OwnerSunshine Press
Created byJulian Assange[1]
Alexa rankNegative increase 12,913 (April 2019)[2]
Launched4 October 2006; 12 years ago (2006-10-04)[4]
Current statusOnline

WikiLeaks (s/) is an international non-profit organisation that publishes news leaks,[5] and classified media provided by anonymous sources.[6] Its website, initiated in 2006 in Iceland by the organisation Sunshine Press,[7] claimed in 2016 to have released online 10 million documents in its first 10 years.[8] Julian Assange, an Australian Internet activist, is generally described as its founder and director.[9] Since September 2018, Kristinn Hrafnsson has served as its editor-in-chief.[10][11]

The group has released a number of prominent document dumps. Early releases included documentation of equipment expenditures and holdings in the Afghanistan war and a report informing a corruption investigation in Kenya.[12] In April 2010, WikiLeaks released the Collateral Murder footage from the 12 July 2007 Baghdad airstrike in which Iraqi journalists were among those killed. Other releases in 2010 included the Afghan War Diary and the "Iraq War Logs". The latter allowed the mapping of 109,032 deaths in "significant" attacks by insurgents in Iraq that had been reported to Multi-National Force – Iraq, including about 15,000 that had not been previously published.[13][14] In 2010, WikiLeaks also released the US State Department diplomatic "cables", classified cables that had been sent to the US State Department. In April 2011, WikiLeaks began publishing 779 secret files relating to prisoners detained in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.[15]

During the 2016 US presidential election campaign, WikiLeaks released emails and other documents from the Democratic National Committee and from Hillary Clinton's campaign manager, John Podesta.[16] The publication of these stolen emails hurt the Clinton campaign and, for FiveThirtyEight, was "among the factors that might have contributed to her loss".[17] The U.S. intelligence community expressed "high confidence" that the leaked emails had been hacked by Russia and supplied to WikiLeaks, while WikiLeaks denied their source was Russia or any other state.[18]

WikiLeaks has drawn criticism[by whom?] for its alleged absence of whistleblowing on or criticism of Russia, and for criticising the Panama Papers' exposé of businesses and individuals with offshore bank accounts.[19][20] WikiLeaks has also been criticised for inadequately curating its content and violating the personal privacy of individuals. WikiLeaks has, for instance, revealed Social Security numbers, medical information, credit card numbers and details of suicide attempts.[21][22][23][24]


Staff, name and founding

Julian Assange was one of the early members of the WikiLeaks staff and is credited as the website's founder.

The domain name was registered on 4 October 2006.[4] The website was established and published its first document in December 2006.[25][26] WikiLeaks is usually represented in public by Julian Assange, who has been described as "the heart and soul of this organisation, its founder, philosopher, spokesperson, original coder, organiser, financier, and all the rest".[27][28] Sarah Harrison, Kristinn Hrafnsson and Joseph Farrell are the only other publicly known and acknowledged associates of Assange who are currently living.[29] Harrison is also a member of Sunshine Press Productions along with Assange and Ingi Ragnar Ingason.[30][31] Gavin MacFadyen was acknowledged by Assange as a ″beloved director of WikiLeaks″ shortly after his death in 2016.[32]

WikiLeaks was originally established with a "wiki" communal publication method, which was terminated by May 2010.[33] Original volunteers and founders were once described as a mixture of Asian dissidents, journalists, mathematicians, and start-up company technologists from the United States, Taiwan, Europe, Australia, and South Africa.[34] As of June 2009, the website had more than 1,200 registered volunteers.[34][35][36]

Despite some popular confusion, related to the fact both sites use the "wiki" name and website design template, WikiLeaks and Wikipedia are not affiliated.[37] Wikia, a for-profit corporation affiliated loosely with the Wikimedia Foundation, purchased several WikiLeaks-related domain names as a "protective brand measure" in 2007.[38]

On 26 September 2018, it was announced that Julian Assange had appointed Kristinn Hrafnsson as editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks while the organisation's statement said Assange was remaining as its publisher. His access to the internet had been ended by his then hosts in the Ecuadorian embassy in March 2019 as he had broken a commitment "not to issue messages that might interfere with other states".[11][39][40]


According to the WikiLeaks website, its goal is "to bring important news and information to the public ... One of our most important activities is to publish original source material alongside our news stories so readers and historians alike can see evidence of the truth." Another of the organisation's goals is to ensure that journalists and whistleblowers are not prosecuted for emailing sensitive or classified documents. The online "drop box" is described by the WikiLeaks website as "an innovative, secure and anonymous way for sources to leak information to [WikiLeaks] journalists".[41]

Some describe WikiLeaks as a media or journalistic organisation. For example, in a 2013 resolution, the International Federation of Journalists, a trade union of journalists, called WikiLeaks a "new breed of media organisation" that "offers important opportunities for media organisations".[42] Harvard professor Yochai Benkler praised WikiLeaks as a new form of journalistic enterprise,[43] testifying at the court-martial of Chelsea Manning (then Bradley Manning) that "WikiLeaks did serve a particular journalistic function," and that the "range of the journalist's privilege" is "a hard line to draw".[44] Others do not consider WikiLeaks to be journalistic in nature. Media ethicist Kelly McBride of the Poynter Institute for Media Studies wrote in 2011: "WikiLeaks might grow into a journalist endeavor. But it's not there yet."[45] Bill Keller of The New York Times considers WikiLeaks to be a "complicated source" rather than a journalistic partner.[45] Prominent First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams writes that WikiLeaks is not a journalistic group, but instead "an organization of political activists; ... a source for journalists; and ... a conduit of leaked information to the press and the public".[46] Noting Assange's statements that he and his colleagues read only a small fraction of information[clarification needed] before deciding to publish it, Abrams writes: "No journalistic entity I have ever heard of—none—simply releases to the world an elephantine amount of material it has not read."[46]

Other Languages
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Alemannisch: WikiLeaks
العربية: ويكيليكس
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Deutsch: WikiLeaks
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한국어: 위키리크스
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Bahasa Indonesia: WikiLeaks
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مازِرونی: ویکی‌لیکس
Bahasa Melayu: WikiLeaks
မြန်မာဘာသာ: WikiLeaks
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नेपाली: विकिलिक्स
norsk: WikiLeaks
norsk nynorsk: WikiLeaks
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਵਿਕੀਲੀਕਸ
پنجابی: وکی لیکس
Plattdüütsch: WikiLeaks
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português: WikiLeaks
română: WikiLeaks
русский: WikiLeaks
саха тыла: WikiLeaks
sardu: WikiLeaks
Scots: WikiLeaks
shqip: WikiLeaks
sicilianu: WikiLeaks
Simple English: WikiLeaks
slovenčina: WikiLeaks
slovenščina: WikiLeaks
کوردی: ویکیلیکس
српски / srpski: Викиликс
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: WikiLeaks
suomi: WikiLeaks
svenska: Wikileaks
татарча/tatarça: WikiLeaks
తెలుగు: వికీలీక్స్
Türkçe: WikiLeaks
українська: WikiLeaks
vèneto: WikiLeaks
Tiếng Việt: WikiLeaks
Winaray: WikiLeaks
吴语: 维基解密
粵語: WikiLeaks
Zazaki: WikiLeaks
中文: 維基解密