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Talking About the Internet Blackout, By the Numbers

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, January 19 2012

When the Internet is blacked out, it does not stand still, as data from participating websites, the major social networking sites and search data indicates the wide online reach of yesterday' day of action against SOPA and PIPA.

Wikipedia summarized its project's results:

During the blackout: More than 12,000 people commented on the Wikimedia Foundation's blog post announcing the blackout. A breathtaking majority supported the blackout. More than 162 million saw the Wikipedia blackout page. More than eight million looked up their elected representatives' contact information via the Wikipedia tool. Anti-SOPA and PIPA topics began trending globally on Twitter immediately after the blackout began. Hashtags included #factswithoutwikipedia, #SOPAstrike, and #wikipediablackout. At one point, #wikipediablackout constituted 1% of all tweets, and SOPA accounted for a quarter-million tweets hourly during the blackout.A quick search of "SOPA blackout" on Google News produced more than 8,000 links as of this writing.

According to Facebook data, Wikipedia's blackout page was liked or shared around 1.2 million times. A CNN article titled "Why Wikipedia went down at midnight" was liked or shared on Facebook over 8,000 times, while another CNN article "SOPA explained: What it is and why it matters" was liked or shared around 5,000 times.
According to Twitter, there were over 2.4 million tweets on the subject between midnight and 4 p.m. Facebook posted a note stating that "millions" participated in conversations about the bills and the protest on Facebook yesterday. The fan count for the Facebook Washington D.C. page also almost doubled yesterday. A status update by Mark Zuckerberg opposing the bills was liked around 492,000 times. Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio announced the withdrawal of his support of the bills on Facebook and received over 4,700 likes. A petition organized by Google received 4.5 million signatures. Today, Google posted on Twitter that the number of petitioners was actually over seven million. Google's End Piracy, Not Liberty page was liked or shared on Facebook around 382,000 times. Google also slowed down its web crawler to not hurt the search engine optimization of sites participating in blackouts. Even though some search results from Wikipedia may have been unhelpful, many of the top search queries on Google yesterday were related to the protests: "censoring the internet," "piracy." "sopa and pipa bills,"censorship," "wikipedia," "blackout," "marco rubio." "congress" and "stop sopa".

The Obama campaign encouraged its supporters on Facebook and elsewhere to add their name in support of a free and open Internet. While previously a report had noted that there was little or no coverage of the bills on TV news, yesterday the protest was covered on both cable and network news channels, although not all of them disclosed the positions that their corporate parent companies have taken on the issue.

Speaking of which: TechPresident's editors oppose SOPA and PIPA, and Personal Democracy Media founder Andrew Rasiej is involved in organizing against both bills.

With Raphael Majma
This post has been updated.

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