George Floyd case: Solidarity posts by social media users backfire as crucial information gets lost under the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag

The unfortunate killing of George Flyod in Minneapolis by a White American cop has once again brought to the fore the festering racial discrimination against the Black Americans. The incident became a rallying point for Americans longing for the fulfilment of one of their country’s foundational principles of the right to life, liberty and happiness.

Scores of demonstrators have hit the streets demanding equality and end of racial discrimination that has so far eluded the American society. However, soon the protests turned violent and many have taken advantage of the ensuing chaos to loot and ransack shops in many cities across the country. Many protesters have also taken to social media websites to voice their support for the Black population of the country who appear increasingly beleaguered with a surge in ethnic intolerance towards them. 

Hashtags such as #BlackLivesMatter and #BLM have emerged on social media websites such as Twitter, Instagram and other platforms where people are showing solidarity with the Black community against all forms of racism, violence and bigotry. Channelling the collective fury over the death of George Floyd, artists, executives, and companies from across the music business called out to participate for a silent protest on Tuesday— though the lack of clear messaging about the protest made it open to more than one interpretation.

Music Industry in US called for Blackout Tuesday(Source: CNN)

Heeding to the Blackout Tuesday called by the music industry, a raft of social media users, especially on Instagram, shared pictures of black squares and a black screen to express their solidarity with the black victims of police brutality. But several of them tagged their posts with #BlackLivesMatter and #BLM, drowning out the vital information about the protests, organization donations, and document police violence.

While the posts containing black squares and screens by users may be well-intentioned, several analysts and social media users highlighted that sharing black pictures with a bunch of important hashtags clogs the information channel and renders the hashtags insignificant.

A Twitter user pointed out how oodles of posts containing black squares and boxes posted by well-meaning Instagram users overwhelmed the hashtags with blank images and drowned out the crucial information related to protests and online campaign against the pervasive racial discrimination.

A Twitter user @anthoknees pointed out the problem of sharing black images as a mark of hmage to the victims of racial discrimination. He urged users to shun sharing such images which could intentionally or unintentionally make the vital information used on ground and online obscure.

Another Twitter user, Tatianna, too, tweeted that sharing black squares and boxes on Instagram was making the BLM hashtag useless. She urged people to not use the important hashtags so critical information is not drowned beneath the sea of solidarity messages.

OpIndia Staff: Staff reporter at OpIndia