January 20, 2012

Facebook, Twitter Helps SOPA/PIPA Petition Go Viral

by Jaimie Siegle | Advertising Systems Inc.

Wikipedia, Reddit, Google, Microsoft and other corporations and public figures virtually protested the SOPA (Stop Online Privacy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act) by “blacking out” their websites for 24 hours on Jan. 17, causing an eruption of social media responses. Google’s homepage urged citizens to petition against the SOPA/PIPA anti-censorship acts: And they listened.

But not without the help of Twitter and Facebook.

The number of “#SOPA” mentions on Twitter had reached about 3.5 million by about 2 p.m. Tuesday. By that time, the petition had received about 4.5 million signatures, according to reporter Dara Kerr of CNET.

Social media company executives also spoke out against the potential legislation. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg released his first tweet in three years on Jan. 18, saying, “Tell your congressmen you want them to be pro-internet,” with a link to his official message that stated Facebook is also anti-SOPA/PIPA. Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s co-founder and president, also tweeted to “tell Congress no.”

Following Zuckerberg’s response, Mashable posted that Zuck should “take Facebook down for a day.” This didn’t happen, of course, but what if it did?

Without Facebook and Twitter, do you think the petition results would have been different?

To learn more about SOPA/PIPA and the Jan. 24 vote, get the cheat sheet here.

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