January 3, 2012
Will Facebook, Google, Twitter Shut Down in 2012 to Protest SOPA?
Sometimes in life dramatic action must be taken in support of something you believe in. The Occupy Wall Street movement, albeit scattered in focus, is one of these such actions, as thousands have been arrested for taking a stand all over the world.
If high-level whisperings are true, popular social and search sites we rely so much on for everyday interactions and real-time information might be readying themselves (and us) for an absolute jaw-dropper.
Despite a number of warnings from social network and web hosting companies about its potential for governmental abuse, some say that H.R. 3261, commonly known as the Stop Online Piracy Act, has a good shot at passage.
Should this happen, members of the online trade association netCoalition have had “serious discussions about” shutting down part (or all) of free society’s most popular websites and social networks, according to netCoalition head Markham Erickson.
To get a feel for how big this could be, members of netCoalition include search sites such as Google, AOL and Yahoo!, social network powerhouses Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Foursquare, online shopping stalwarts PayPal, Amazon and eBay, and Firefox founder Mozilla. Web founders of netCoalition include founders or CEOs of Netscape, Flickr and The Huffington Post.
Did that last paragraph get your attention?
If SOPA passes, netCoalition members are hoping a “nuclear option” of going dark with their sites will force a deluge of user emails, phone calls, and perhaps even angry mobs to the halls of Congress. If Google and Wikipedia’s home pages provided a simple description of why they’ve shut down, along with the legal ramifications of SOPA, that’s a lot of eyeballs getting an eye-full fast.
Google co-founder Sergey Brin has said SOPA’s passage “would put us on a par with the most oppressive nations in the world.” Twitter co-founders Jack Dorsey and Biz Stone agree that unprecedented “power to censor the Web” would be given birth to.
Should the CEOs of our favorite social sites, with a combined userbase of more than a billion people, decide to go nuclear, 2012 could get ugly fast.
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