A group of Seattle activists are attempting to stage a “social media blackout” on Inauguration Day.
What is a “social media blackout,” you ask? From our inbox: “People are being asked to only post images of pure black all day on January 20, 2017, to protest the apparent intentions of the Trump presidency and to demand that more is done to combat fake news stories on social media,” the press release from the nascent group Social Media Blackout says.
The website, www.socialmediablackout.net, even has all-black photos people can download to set as their profile pictures.
The effort appears similar to those staged to show solidarity on LGBT rights and Planned Parenthood.
Among those organizing the effort is Vivian McPeak, of Seattle Hempfest fame. “Symbolic gestures of protest have an impact, send a message, reveal numbers, and create solidarity. Americans who participate can make a statement that the truth is sacred and that our American democracy is in jeopardy. If enough people take part we can make a visual impact because we have the right not to remain silent,” McPeak says in the press release.
The group’s complaints are twofold. While taking pains to note that “millions of good, decent Americans voted for Donald Trump,” they echo many in Seattle by arguing Trump “disqualified himself to be the leader of the Free World by the way he ran his campaign.” And, like many before them, they implicate social media as part of the reason for electing “the least qualified” president ever. “In an effort to subvert democracy social media platforms were manipulated by domestic and outside sources of disinformation, apparently including some degree of foreign based hackers and operatives,” the release says.
While there’s no denying that fake news was rampant on social media in the run-up to the election, there is ample debate on how large of a factor it played in the election. That said, Facebook has since committed to try to stem the tide of bullshit on people’s news feeds.