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#BlackoutTuesday: What it is and how it’s hurting the Black Lives Matter movement

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA)- You may have noticed on social media, timelines have been flooded with plain black images as a part of  social media movement,  Blackout Tuesday

Blackout Tuesday, originally started by the music industry in protest of the death of George Floyd, has now spread like wildfire, especially on Instagram. 

Now, social media users beyond the music industry, including activist, celebrities, influencers and small businesses are posting the solid black image, sometimes accompanied by a message of solidarity with black communities and black victims of police violence.

By Tuesday afternoon, the hashtag #BlackoutTuesday had over 25 million posts on Instagram.  

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🙏🏼

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Black Lives Matter. #normalizeequality

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Some supporters of Blackout Tuesday are also using the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag, which activists say poses as a problem for the movement.  

Chynna Ratner, owner of Tampa marketing firm Skep Media, say people using the wrong hashtag are making it difficult for others to access vital information. 

“As things have progressed throughout the day, people have taken the idea of it and kind have over saturated the hashtag, they are using the wrong hashtag, the black lives matter hashtag, which is now pushing out all the important information that people are relying on,” said Ratner. “It kind of took a left turn. So, we have steered clear of that and are providing more resources like donation links and where to sign petitions and things that can be actionable instead of just a square post.”  

Currently, Ratner has been helping several companies and brands respond to George Floyd’s death on their social media platforms.  

“I have some companies that want to do a tribute post but they don’t want to come off as ‘all lives matter.’ So, it has been interesting to find the right language to go with the right brands, to make it authentic and connect to people,” said Ratner. 

The death of Floyd has stuck a nerve in many across the country. The 8-minute video of the incident shows a white Minneapolis police officer with his knee on 46-year-old Floyd’s neck as he pleads, “Please, please, please, I can’t breathe.” Minutes later, Floyd goes silent. He was later pronounced dead.   

The fallout from Floyd’s death has caused pain and outrage throughout the county. Ratner believes the clients she represents are also experiencing feelings of frustration and sadness as well.  

“Companies are looking to get involved,” said Ratner. “There are companies that are realizing that they don’t need to appease everyone in the entire world. They are realizing generations are becoming more in-touch with who their neighbor is and they want to align themselves with brands and companies that speak to them.”  

Beyond #BlackoutTuesday, Ratner recommends social media users refrain from posting to their timeline for a while in an effort to make room for more black voices and those committed to standing up against racial inequality.  

“Going silent on social media and just posting to your stories, I think is great way to elevate the voices of people who need to use their voice. If you yourself are going to provide resources, make sure you yourself are signing petitions, voting, being active and not just being a keyboard warrior.” 

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