Tech

Instagram users flood the app with millions of Blackout Tuesday posts

Key Points
  • Brands, organizations and individuals are posting only a single black square Tuesday on social media to show a virtual moment of silence.
  • Others are choosing to continue posting but will only amplify voices of the black community. 
  • As of 11:45 a.m. ET, more than 14.6 million Instagram posts used the hashtag #blackouttuesday.
More than 11.3 million #blackouttuesday posts were published to Instagram by mid-morning on Tuesday.
CNBC

Instagram users are flooding the platform with black squares in support of black victims of police violence as part of a Blackout Tuesday protest. 

As of 11:45 a.m. ET, more than 14.6 million Instagram posts used the hashtag #BlackoutTuesday. Searches for "blackout tuesday image" and "blackout image" surged 400% Tuesday morning, according to Google Trends

The idea of an online movement was announced last week, when music executives Jamila Thomas and Brianna Agyemang called on members of the music industry to pause business on Tuesday and take a stand against racism. 

"We will not continue to conduct business as usual without regard for Black lives," the founders wrote. Platforms, such as Apple Music, Spotify and YouTube Music, joined the movement and are using their apps to promote black artists. 

Among those supporting the Blackout Tuesday message are: Warner Music Group, Interscope Records, RCA Records, Columbia Records, Capitol Music Group and Republic Records. Additionally, artists like the Rolling Stones, Quincy Jones and Billie Eilish said they would observe the day. A number of other artists have cancelled listening parties and fan events.

Additionally, media company ViacomCBS, which owns MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, Paramount Pictures, Pop, VH1, TV Land, among others, also joined this call to action. On Monday, the company's networks all went off the air for eight minutes and 46 seconds, the length of time that an officer in Minneapolis pressed his knee on Floyd's neck.

The movement has since spread to brands, organizations and individuals, who are using Instagram to post only a black square Tuesday to show a virtual moment of silence. Others are choosing to continue posting, but will only amplify voices of the black community. 

Facebook, Instagram's parent company, is facing criticism for choosing to run advertisements as normal during the day, which stand out in stark contrast against the bare posts.

"We will not pause ads from running on our platform so people and businesses can participate in the conversation and amplify their messages. However, advertisers can choose to pause their ads if they desire," a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement.

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The movement also hit a snag in the morning as people used hashtags meant for Black Lives Matter, which usually is related to global protests and donations, on their black squares. That caused the usual #BLM and #BlackLivesMatter pages to be flooded with simple squares rather than information and resources, leading several to call out the problem. 

Activists and celebrities have called on users to delete their posts with the Black Lives Matter hashtags and repost. 

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