She‘s vowed to go silent on social media for 24 hours in what’s been described as a ‘worthless’ gesture against hate speech and misinformation
In June, the music industry led a day-long social media ‘blackout’ in protest of police brutality and systemic racism following the murder of George Floyd. Instead of news about Black Lives Matter demonstrations, infographics about how to take action, and valuable resources, people’s timelines were filled with black squares.
The move was criticised as being reductive, with many asserting that going silent at a time when you should be more vocal than ever is counterproductive to the cause. Still, it appears celebrities haven’t taken this feedback on board, instead joining yet another ‘blackout’ – this time in protest against misinformation and hate speech on social media.
Among those joining the Instagram and Facebook freeze is Kim Kardashian. “I love that I can connect directly with you through Instagram and Facebook,” she wrote on Twitter, “but I can’t sit by and stay silent while these platforms continue to allow the spreading of hate, propaganda, and misinformation – created by groups to sow division and split America apart – only to take steps after people are killed.”
In order to not “stay silent”, Kim is – *checks notes* – going silent on social media today (September 16), before seemingly returning tomorrow (September 17). She’s joined by the likes of Naomi Campbell, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Jennifer Lawrence.
I love that I can connect directly with you through Instagram and Facebook, but I can’t sit by and stay silent while these platforms continue to allow the spreading of hate, propaganda and misinformation - created by groups to sow division and split America apart pic.twitter.com/XkxzABn7qw— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) September 15, 2020
The gesture has been mercilessly mocked by those online. “These stunts are worthless if temporary and short-lived (which they always are),” wrote one user. “If anything, they shine a light on the fact that we cannot live without these platforms since everyone always comes back (brands included).”
The ‘blackout’ is part of the Stop Hate for Profit campaign, which aims to “hold social media companies accountable for hate on their platforms”. Made up of civil rights organisations including the Anti-Defamation League and the NAACP, the campaign has previously succeeded in convincing brands to pull their ads from Facebook.
Speaking to The New York Times, Jim Steyer, the chief executive of Common Sense Media – a non-profit group that’s part of Stop Hate for Profit – said that the social media freeze is “designed to keep up the pressure”. According to Steyer, after the ‘blackout’, celebrities will post educational messages about how social media companies spread disinformation and allow far-right groups to form online.
Of course, this isn’t the first time Kim K has gone silent in support of a cause – she’s been doing it for over a decade. Back in 2010, she – along with Lady Gaga, Usher, and more – stopped posting on social media for World Aids Day until $1 million was raised for the Keep a Child Alive campaign.
As journalist Stuart Heritage wrote for The Guardian at the time, the campaign essentially asked “the public to decide whether they’d prefer to live in a world where children don’t die of HIV and Aids, or a world where Kim Kardashian doesn’t use her Twitter to bombard followers with links to KardashianKard.com”.