Wikipedia Blackout Not Adopted by Facebook,Twitter in SOPA Protest

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By Setrige Crawford , Christian Post Reporter
January 18, 2012|10:28 am

Facebook and Twitter, along with other Internet companies, have chosen not to participate in an Internet blackout to protest the proposed SOPA and PIPA laws, although giant web encyclopedia Wikipedia did.

Major Internet companies, like AOL, eBay, Mozilla, Zynga, Facebook and Twitter are not willing to risk a day's worth of revenue and angry users to protest the proposed bills, according to Reuters.

"Closing a global business in reaction to single-issue national politics is foolish," Twitter chief executive Dick Costolo tweeted over the weekend.

He followed with a statement that the company would continue to take an active role in opposing the bill.

Twitter is just one of the sites that is protesting the bills, but won't black out its Website.

In November 2011, eBay, Facebook, Google and Twitter wrote to lawmakers opposing the bill.

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While Facebook has not made the decision to blackout their site, it is against the act. Instead of shutting down, there are pages on Facebook designed to encourage users to blackout their profile picture in support of the protest against SOPA. They also ask users sign petitions fighting the proposed bill, according to Dbtechno.com.

Internet companies that oppose the legislation argue that it undermines innovation and free speech rights and compromises the functioning of the Internet, according to Reuters.

Internet companies such as Wikipedia, Reddit and Google are either shutting down their website, or making changes and will instead put up information about the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA).

A Google spokeswoman said that they are against the bills because they ask American companies to censor the Internet in response to foreign rogue Websites, according to a Reuters report.

"Like many businesses, entrepreneurs and Web users, we oppose these bills because there are smart, targeted ways to shut down foreign rogue websites without asking American companies to censor the Internet," said the Google spokeswoman. "So (Wednesday) we will be joining many other tech companies to highlight the issue on our US home page."

Google will still run its search engine, but it has its logo blacked out and displays a message saying, "Tell Congress: Please don't censor the web."

SOPA and PIPA were designed to limit access and payments to overseas Websites that traffic in stolen content or counterfeit groups. This has been a major priority for entertainment companies, publishers and pharmaceutical firms. They feel the laws are important because it would control piracy, which they say costs them billions of dollars a year.

In actuality, the bills could severely limit the ability of Internet users in the U.S. to access information, especially via social networking sites, which typically allow users to repost content across the Web.

Former Senator Chris Dodd, who is currently with the Motion Picture Association of America, calls the blackout a gimmick and wants its supporters to "stop the hyperbole and PR stunts and engage in meaningful efforts to combat piracy," according to a Reuters report.

Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and sponsor for SOPA, Lamar Smith, said that the blackout promotes fear instead of facts.

"Perhaps during the blackout, Internet users can look elsewhere for an accurate definition of online piracy," Smith said.

According to an article in Forbes, participation in the blackout from Facebook and Google could have crippled the bill.

Paul Tassi wrote that if those sites went dark and linked to pages explaining their issues with SOPA, and then had links for people to contact Congress, it would kill the bill. Tassi also said that national news, who avoided covering SOPA, would be forced into reporting about it if Google and Facebook went offline, making for a huge tech story.

 

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