Why using the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag with a black square photo causes harm
As Blackout Tuesday takes social media by storm, activists have warned against posting images of a black square accompanied by the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter.
The movement has spread like wildfire on social media, where organizations, brands and individuals are posting solemn messages featuring stark black backgrounds, sometimes tagging the posts with #BlackLivesMatter.
The danger of this is that the posts are essentially clogging the searchable feed, which restricts valueable content which showcases protests and arrests which need to be seen.
If you have posted a black screen for #BlackOutTuesday on Instagram please remove the #/blacklivesmatter so that people who are receiving their information there can still find it. https://t.co/3txqAm4STn— YBT (@yungbabytate) June 2, 2020
While these posts may be well-intentioned, it's important to note that most people use social media as a means to gather updated information, therefore the hashtag should be used in a more thoughtful manner.
We know that's it no intent to harm but to be frank, this essentially does harm the message," mental health advocate and Black Lives Matter activist Kenidra Woods posted on Twitter. "We use hashtag to keep ppl updated. PLS stop using the hashtag for black images!!" A video scroll of the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag on Instagram proves her point: It's row after row of black squares, with very few posts of note in between.
"When you check the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag, it's no longer videos, helpful information, resources, documentation of the injustice, it's rows of black screens," music artist Kehlani explained on her Instagram story.
It's important to keep ourselves updated on the facts and use social media wisely in order to have a positive impact.
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