Google, Facebook, Twitter, PayPal, Yahoo, and Wikipedia have been discussing the possibility of using a “nuclear option” in their anti-SOPAagenda—a blackout that would block users from using any of their services. The symbolic idea being that it would demonstrate how SOPA would affect the internet and its users. Instead of being able to access the homepage, perhaps users would encounter an anti-SOPA message explaining why it is a bad piece of legislation (which was proposed by Anonymous when it launched Operation Blackout).
The tech companies are well aware that a service blackout would inconvenience and, in some cases, truly piss off some users, which Markham Erickson, executive director of trade association NetCoalition, confirmed in a Fox News interview.
“This type of thing doesn’t happen because companies typically don’t want to put their users in that position. The difference is that these bills so fundamentally change the way the Internet works. People need to understand the effect this special-interest legislation will have on those who use the Internet,” stated Erickson.
Though these tech giants might ultimately opt for another outlet to voice their SOPA disapproval, a Google, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo and Wikipedia blackout is a viable form of protest. Mozilla would likely join, leaving many users without the means of going about their day both socially and in business. When the blackout occurs, newspapers, TV programs and blogs will pick up on the symbolic action and hopefully create a dynamic and powerful critical mass.
If this is what it takes to finally defeat SOPA, then so be it. We can all do without these services for a day.