January 19, 2012 | 10:42 am
On Wednesday, some of the Internet’s largest entities blacked out their websites — or their logos or some of their content — in a protest against the SOPA and PIPA anti-piracy bills making their way through Congress.
If you’re wondering whether all of this had an effect, the answer is yes. Big time.
Wikipedia, the largest Web player to block access to its pages for a full 24 hours, reports that a whopping 162 million people experienced the blackout on the online encyclopedia’s landing page. In addition, 8 million U.S. readers took Wikipedia’s suggestion and looked up their congressional reps from the site.
Google reported Wednesday that as of 1:30 PM PST, 4.5 million people had signed its petition asking lawmakers to reject the Stop Online Piracy Act in the House and the Protect Intellectual Property Act in the Senate.
Twitter said 2.4 million SOPA-related tweets were sent in the first 16 hours of the day Wednesday. The top five terms were SOPA, Stop SOPA, PIPA, Tell Congress, #factswithoutwikipedia.
WordPress reports that at least 25,000 WordPress blogs had joined the SOPA and PIPA protest by blacking out their blogs entirely, and an additional 12,500 had posted a “Stop Censorship” ribbon.
“The Wikipedia blackout is over and the public has spoken,” Sue Gardner, executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation, said in a statement. “162 million of you saw our blackout page asking if you could imagine a world without free knowledge. You said no. You shut down the congressional switchboards, and you melted their servers. Your voice was loud and strong.”