Historic day for the Internet, Social Media makes stand against SOPA

Out of Office : Wikipedia and Reddit shut down for the day in protest of SOPA

It was back to Google or Bing yesterday for Wikipedia fans’ search requirements, as the platform shut down for the day as a form of protest against both the Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA).  Both are anti-piracy bills currently under discussion in the US Congress.

It seems the powers that be over at Wikipedia were prompted into action by Reddit, who had previously announced their intent to do the same.

Jay Rosen, Professor of Journalism at NYU then took to Twitter to praise the actions of Reddit and Wikipedia, and called on Twitter, Facebook and Google to follow suit.

Twitter was the first to respond in the negative, as CEO Dick Costolo replied, making clear his disdain for shutting down “a global business in reaction to single-issue national politics…”.  He later clarified he was referring only to Twitter, responding to numerous Tweet’s he’d received pressuring the platform to join Reddit and Wikipedia in shutting up shop for the day.

Google  asked its users to sign a petition protesting the laws circulating in the US Congress, with a Google spokesperson saying 4.5 million people added their names to the company’s anti-SOPA petition in just one day.

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg took to denounce the proposed laws, calling them “poorly thought out laws.”

“Facebook opposes SOPA and PIPA, and we will continue to oppose any laws that will hurt the Internet,” the Facebook CEO said in a Facebook update.

“The Internet is the most powerful tool we have for creating a more open and connected world,” Zuckerberg continued. “We can’t let poorly thought out laws get in the way of the internet’s development.”

Reddit CEO Alexis Ohanian, “It is a testament to how the Internet works. Whether an (interesting) video or a cause, it shows the exponential growth of the Internet.”

SOPA and PIPA are anti-piracy bills specific to the US, but what happens there will quite likely influence other countries and their own anti-piracy regulations.  It’s worth following the progress of the Congress debates, as it may well impact the rest of the world before long.

Video: Wired.com’s Editor-in Chief, Evan Hansen, explains why these US bills are bad for the Internet and need to be stopped.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7SmgpphdT3E

Wikipedia to shut down on Wednesday in protest of SOPA

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