By Interactive Strategies
Jan 24, 2012

A Striking Success

Last week millions of Americans participated in or witnessed the biggest digital protest the world has ever seen. Big and little names alike bound together to fight against the PIPA and SOPA acts – two proposed bills that could have unleashed a level of censorship on the Internet that many thought to be unacceptable (and a few believed to be unconstitutional).

I’m willing to bet almost every American witnessed some part of the strike, either through media coverage, or seeing the strike in action. Maybe your favorite website was blacked out. Perhaps you noticed a black bar over Google’s logo.  And of course, Reddit refused to be read.

Individuals who participated in the protest came out in force. Ten million signatures were added to petitions; 3 million emails were sent to representatives; 2.2 million tweets mentioned “SOPA;” and 258,000 people posted on their Facebook pages. In total, 115,000 websites participated in the strike somehow, affecting millions all over globe.

And it worked.

Shortly after the protest congress dropped both SOPA and PIPA. Many co-sponsors revoked their support and made announcements saying they would look into other options for battling online piracy.

This is proof that the free Internet has incredible value that we must preserve actively. We must trust our technical experts, and always use our voices, which, in this case, had more impact more than our congressmen.

Throughout the world citizens are using the Internet to unite and spread the word around common causes. Most recently in Egypt, despite attempts to block social media sites, thousands of Egyptians were able to organize into a revolution using Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

And even in countries like Iran and China where censorship has prevailed for decades, people are starting to think about how the Internet can impact long-standing policies, and how they can help shape new ones. For example, commentator Liu Qingyan said of the recent protest, “We should learn something from the way these American Internet companies protested against SOPA and PIPA. A free and democratic society depends on every one of us caring about politics and fighting for our rights. We will not achieve it by avoiding talk about politics.”

Wonderful words for a hopeful future.

Thanks to everyone that supported us, and everyone that supported the strike! Be proud. Stay free!

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