Blind Social Media Activism is a Dangerous Practice in the Age of Misinformation

Njera Perkins
4 min readJun 2, 2020
Photo by Black Lives Matter

In response to the recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmuad Arbery, and others, Tuesday, June 2 was reserved as a day to combat the long-standing racism embedded in our institutions and boardrooms within the music industry.

Jamila Thomas and Brianna Agyemang, two Black women music executives, created #TheShowMustBePaused initiative to intentionally disrupt the million-dollar music industry and force these entities within the field to stand with, protect, and empower Black communities that have been their profitable means for decades, according to the organization’s website.

Music industry executives and artists have all posted messages in solidarity with the initiative, but the initial message behind this independent movement has lost its way within the realms of social media.

What this day has now turned into is a widespread black out where users all across social media are posting black squares tagged with the Black Lives Matter hashtag to stand in solidarity with the movement. What people have failed to realize is that in doing so, they have subsequently censored all vital resources and live updates from those on the frontlines protesting these racial injustices and others seeking to spread messages to the masses, thus blocking out an entire channel of information.

A day for the music industry has turned into a hijacked campaign for those who wish to support Black Lives Matter, but with no structured guidelines, call to action, or source of organizers behind this separate initiative. This dangerous practice of blindly following trends online is part of a lucrative performance of social media activism that has given a huge space for brands and others to participate in. While the act may have been well-intentioned, the sharing of accurate information is all too important right now as many already feel disconnected from the world. It’s of the utmost importance that we do our due diligence and research these practices before participating.

In less than 12 hours, social media has successfully blacked out our key channels of communication and obscured days, weeks, and years of essential posts crucial to the #BlackLivesMatter movement online. How the story is being reported in the news is not what is actually happening online and it’s that notion alone that proves how much of a threat this day has turned out to be.

Users across social media took to their platforms to relay the danger of posting these black squares with misguided use of the Black Lives Matter hashtag as a word of caution to the movement.

Twitter: @Kazeem
Twitter: @JaleelSpeaQs

Users have also pointed out the vulnerability of this day has given companies and allies license to participate in something that has no reliable source.

Twitter: @KenidraRWoods_
Twitter: @brandonjinx

Truth seeking in the age of misinformation is a grueling task, but necessary for what the world is experiencing right now. We’re witnessing news outlets misreport the news and change narratives from how they’re being relayed on social media. These platforms are our means of communication, so it’s counterproductive to clog them with trivial posts when there’s still much work outside to be done.

Since this day has already transformed into a wider movement to allow Black people, workers and allies time to address social issues and collectively take a stand, use productive methods as not to smear the work and resources needed most on these platforms. If you want to participate in Black Out Tuesday follow some of these guidelines:

  1. Do not use the Black Lives Matter hashtag if you’re posting a black square to show solidarity — use #BlackOutTuesday or #TheShowMustBePaused (for those in the music industry).
  2. Post a bail fund, mutual aid fund, or GoFundMe page for people to donate funds to.
  3. Donate food, water, and other necessary supplies needed at these rallies and protests.
  4. Post information, helpful resources, and thoughts solely related to Black Lives Matter, local protests, or current world events surrounding racial injustice.
  5. Remind people to vote in today’s primary elections for participating states and point them towards their local voting polls.
  6. Spread the word of the movement by keeping up with updates as they develop and inform your peers with accurate information to reference.

The intentions were good, but the delivery was poorly executed. Correct the message being communicated across these platforms if you’re going to engage within the movement because contrary to popular belief, people are watching and digesting information at face value without properly citing their sources.

Word of advice — think before you post.



Njera Perkins

Writer. Journalist. Storyteller. Words are a powerful tool. @IAMNJERA