A French court has ruled that Wikipedia cannot be held responsible for content posted by its users, in a landmark ruling for the Internet giant.

Three plaintiffs were each seeking €69,000 in damages for invasion of their privacy after their homosexuality was revealed on the website, which is written and edited by thousands of anonymous contributors.

A judge rejected their demands and argued that the Wikimedia Foundation's responsibility had not been clearly established.

The chair of the Wikimedia Foundation's board, Florence Devouard said this ruling acknowledged its role as an Internet host rather than as an editor.

Ms Devouard said the contested information was added anonymously to a Wikipedia article before being quickly withdrawn.

Founded in 2001, Wikipedia is an open-source Internet  encyclopedia, which means that anyone can edit it. It has over eight million articles in 250 languages and is used by more than 100 million people each month.