Reddit Plans Anti-SOPA Blackout; Wikipedia May Join


Reddit, the news aggregator site, has announced that it will be blacking out its entire site from 8am till 8pm on Wednesday, January 18, to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) and to send a message to Congress, which is currently reviewing the legislation. The protest is timed to coincide with a House Oversight Committee hearing called by Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) that is to examine how domain name service and search engine blocking might affect national security and also the US’s internet community.

Says Reddit on its blog:

The freedom, innovation, and economic opportunity that the Internet enables is in jeopardy. Congress is considering legislation that will dramatically change your Internet experience and put an end to reddit [sic] and many other sites you use everyday. Internet experts, organizations, companies, entrepreneurslegal expertsjournalists, and individuals have repeatedly expressed how dangerous this bill is.

The blackout promises to be in stark contrast to Reddit’s usual “glorious, user-curated chaos”; it will be a simple statement of what the internet could be like should SOPA and PIPA be approved in the House and Senate, respectively. Reddit will stream the House hearing “where Internet entrepreneurs and technical experts (including reddit co-founder Alexis “kn0thing” Ohanian) will be testifying” and will highlight community meetups and other advocacy campaigns against SOPA and PIPA. Rackspace Chief Executive Lanham Napier will also testify, as will several security, technology policy and civil liberties experts, says the Washington Post.

Anonymous, the hack collective, has announced that it will be joining the blackout, while Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales is considering taking the vast online encyclopedia offline too. Wales took Wikipedia offline in the past to protest an Italian privacy law and says he is “all in favor” of the one Reddit is planning, writing that:

I think it would be great if we could act quickly to coordinate with Reddit. I’d like to talk to our government affairs advisor to see if they agree on this as useful timing, but assuming that’s a greenlight, I think that matching what Reddit does (but in our own way of course) per the emerging consensus on how to do it, is a good idea.

Noting that “we don’t have the luxury of time that we usually have, in terms of negotiating with each other for weeks about what’s exactly the best possible thing to do,” Wales urged the Wikipedia community to decide soon about a sympathy blackout with Reddit. Wikipedia had actually considered a blackout at the very beginning of January, in discussions with Amazon, PayPal, Google and others about “whether a period of synchronized downtime could rally opposition.”

It’s not yet clear if WordPress, the blogging platform, is considering joining the blackout. But SOPA and PIP have raised enough concerns that  Wordpress is speaking out about them. Describing “blogging as a form of activism” — and noting that WordPress is said to power  about 15% of the web – community manager Jane Wells writes:

You can be an agent of change. Some people will tell you that taking action is useless, that online petitions, phone calls to representatives, and other actions won’t change a single mind, especially one that’s been convinced of something by lobbyist dollars. To those people, I repeat the words of Margaret Mead:

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

Along with H.R. 3699, the Research Works Act, which threatens the public’s access to publicly funded research, SOPA and PIPA are legislative bills that intend not only to censor the internet, but to regulate the “glorious user-curated chaos” that characterizes it and that has made the internet the powerful tool of innovation, free speech, dissemination of information and knowledge, political change and far more that we know it as. I’m hoping Wikipedia and WordPress will join in the blackout: Seeing dark screens with one simple message (at the most) instead of the usual streams of information and images will remind us about what we value about the internet as it is, without intrusive legislation to curb its and our freedom.


Related Care2 Coverage

Open Access Under Threat: HR 3699

SOPA: Bloggers and Libertarians vs. Hollywood

We Don’t Need to Censor the Internet: Tech Community…


Image of Reddit knocked out by ficusdesk


Serena Alonzi
6 years ago


Annmari Lundin
Annmari Lundin6 years ago

The US Government tried to regulate and censor the Internet in the 1990's and was struck down by the SCOTUS. Since then, every US Government have tried to do the same. And lost. This time they use the entertainment industry as a cloak for their real goals. Don't let them win! If they do, we are never going to have a free Internet and access to free and independent information!

Deanna J.
Deanna J6 years ago

OHOH, WIKI PLEASE JOIN THIS BLACKOUT. So many people access Wikipedia each day, it will really spread the message if all of a sudden such a large site is down.

Samantha Garlejo
Samantha Garlejo6 years ago

Those are great quote inserts. Good on them. I'm joining the cause!

Robyn B.
Robyn Brice6 years ago

This is very frightening indeed. We need to protect out rights to have a free and uncensored internet.

mary l.
mary l6 years ago

The government wants more control.

Dr Clue
Dr Clue6 years ago

(@Gabby W.) Indeed Google should shutter both their search tools AND youTube, as should others shutter their properties in solidarity.

Have no doubt that if these firms don't protest now , nobody we'll be ABLE to hear them protest later.


Jamie Clemons
Jamie Clemons6 years ago

you are about to be censored by the police state.

Gabby W.
Catherine V6 years ago


Over the past week, I've been reading about the speculation that Google and Facebook may join Reddit. I know that Google and Facebook are worried about revenue loss in that 12 hrs but 12 hrs is better than indefinitely!
Also, Wikipedia and Cheezburger has now said they will join the black-out next Wednesday as well. -awesome!!
And considering that there is only "8" comments on this article. Compared to 100 comments on other care2 articles that is nothing but a bunch of he said she said (rhetoric, waste of time) political articles.
I sincerely hope that Google and Facebook does join in. So that the SOPA bill gets the attention it needs. Especially since the national corporate owned media is not!
AND HEY CARE2, help raise more awareness about this bill because your website could be shutdown too if this bill passes!!

Tracey D.
Tracey D6 years ago

Thanks for the info. SOPA and PIPA need to stopped.