The popular hashtag #BlackoutTuesday from June 2 has returned in a new event, Blackout Day 2020, occurring right now. Instagram’s algorithmically selected cover post for the hashtag #BlackoutDay2020 states the following synopsis of the day, “Today, I am participating in The Blackout Coalition’s economic protest by not spending ANY money and, if I must spend, I pledge to only do so at Black Owned Businesses.”
The Blackout Coalition claims to be responsible for today’s event, although many philanthropy groups and political lobbyists have co-opted or appropriated Black Lives Matter events in the past. The domain was registered just 38 days ago at GoDaddy using domain privacy to conceal ownership. The Blackout Coalition shares leadership with OneUnited Bank with less than $1 billion in assets, as well as a Miami-based ad agency with a history of sponsored content on Huffington Post shortly after Arianna Huffington’s departure to Thrive amid complaints of advertorial. A background check did not reveal any immediate problems with the organization, and indeed, there are less than a few dozen black-owned banks in the country, many of which have smaller asset bases.
Concurrently, today’s Blackout Day 2020 event is trending alongside the older hashtag #BlackoutTuesday from June 2. Originally intended as a single-day event, Blackout Tuesday started as The Show Must Be Paused and morphed into a broader social media event for members of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Ostensibly an event to encourage going offline to reflect on African American civic issues, in practice, Blackout Day 2020 has morphed into a digital event with millions of users black squares with overlaid text across all social media platforms with heavy commenting and sharing using old hashtags #BlackLivesMatter #BLM #BlackoutTuesday and now the additional #BlackoutDay2020.