Wikipedia will not comply with aspects of the Online Safety Bill if passed, the website’s charity has warned.
The bill — currently sitting in the House of Lords — will compel social media platforms and tech companies to police and remove hateful content.
It will also require platforms to keep adult content out of reach of children, ultimately forcing them to introduce age verification tools.
But Lucy Crompton-Reid, chief executive of Wikimedia UK, told the BBC that some of the material on Wikipedia’s online database of 6.6 million articles could unnecessarily trigger age checks.
“For example, educational text and images about sexuality could be misinterpreted as pornography,” she said.
Crompton-Reid said introducing any age checks would “violate our commitment to collect minimal data about readers and contributors”.
Checking ages would also require a “drastic overhaul” of its technical systems, she added.
“The Wikimedia Foundation will not be verifying the age of UK readers or contributors,” she said.
Under the bill, firms could face hefty fines for non-compliance.
In a debate in the House of Lords on Tuesday, Conservative Peer Lord Moylan called for encyclopaedias like Wikipedia to be exempt from regulations due to the difficulties moderating content submitted by a network of volunteers in different languages on its platform.
It is unclear whether age verification restrictions would apply to online tools like Wikipedia.
“The world-leading Online Safety Bill has been designed to strike the balance between tackling harm without imposing unnecessary burdens on low-risk tech companies,” a government spokesperson said.
“Ofcom will take a reasonable and proportionate approach when monitoring and enforcing the safety duties outlined in Bill, focusing on services where the risk of harm is highest,” the statement added.
The government and Ofcom were both approached for comment.