#BlackoutSOPA: A Look At The Social Media Movement That Helped Stall The SOPA Legislation

Over the past month, SOPA (the Stop Online Piracy Act (H.R. 3261,) has been the hottest, most controversial news topics.  The proposed legislation required the take-down of infringed content from ISPs, search engines and webmasters.  The good news is, SOPA has been shelved … for now.

The outpouring of anti-SOPA support has been overwhelming, and may have influenced the White House’s decision to not support the legislation in it’s current form.  An outpouring of support on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and from webmasters made the anti-SOPA stance a popular one.  While the original SOPA legislation has been shelved indefinitely, a strong push is still underway to make sure that more SOPA-like legislation isn’t proposed again in the near future.

The Reddit Blackout

Many sites are kicking the support up a notch by “going black” in an effort to show their visitors what could happen if the SOPA bill was passed.  One of the most vocal voices against SOPA has been Reddit founder, Alexis Ohanian.  Reddit, a site that features socially driven news stories (and 2 billion pageviews a month!) scheduled a blackout on Jan 18th and urged others to do so as well.  Other websites that came on board were Tucows, the Cheezburger network and there was even talk about a Wikipedia blackout (no official confirmation).  Neither Google nor Facebook showed official support for the blackouts.

The blackouts have been proposed for a 12 hour span (8 AM – 8 PM EST on January 18th), and webmasters have been urged to participate.  A “this website has gone dark” template exists for those who are looking to become a part of the #BlackoutSOPA movement.  In addition to taking an entire site down, a blacked-out splash page also exists that allows users to continue through to the site.

For more information on Reddit (and the web’s) continued fight against SOPA see the SOPA subreddit.

Social Media Support

The anti-SOPA movement may have been most apparent on social networking sites, as thousands of users added “STOP SOPA” to their profiles.  Blackout SOPA led the movement as they offered a an anti-SOPA tag that could be appended underneath user profiles.  Some high profile accounts that used this badge include MC Hammer, The Lonely Island, Twitter co-founder Ev, and Tim O’Reilly.

In addition to profile image changes, custom Facebook Timeline images and Google+ templates were created to support the movement.

Overall, this is a textbook example of how organized social media support can help cause a disruption to the system while achieving major goals.  Continue to show your anti-SOPA support today and stay tuned for more SOPA information.

Postscript by Matt McGee: Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales has now confirmed via Twitter that Wikipedia’s English-language site will join the blackout:


Related Topics: Channel: Industry | Legal | Legal: Copyright & Trademark | Social Media Marketing | Top News


About The Author: is the Director of Marketing for Cypress North, a company that specializes in social media and search marketing services and web-based application development. He has been in the Internet marketing industry for 6+ years and specializes in Social Media Marketing. You can also find Greg on Twitter (@gregfinn) or LinkedIn.

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  • http://www.selfstorageinvesting.com Self Storage Investing

    It’s great when social media can be used to generate change and make sure people’s voices are heard.

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