News Column

Social Media 'Blackout' as Zimmerman Case Goes to Jury

July 12, 2013
social media blackout
Social media users are blacking out their profile pictures as George Zimmerman jury deliberates.

As the jury begins considering the case against George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin, people are taking to social media to weigh in -- everything from blacking out their profile pictures to spreading the word about a "day of absence."

In recent days, hundreds of thousands of people have been using #Blackout4Trayvon, #JusticeForTrayvon and other hashtags on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to post opinions and arguments and organize rallies and protests. On Facebook, Justice for Trayvon Martin has more than 200,000 likes.

Some have replaced their profile photos on Facebook with a black square or silhouettes depicting Trayvon in a hoodie. The 17-year-old was wearing a hoodie when he was shot and killed by Zimmerman in February of 2012. Zimmerman said he acted in self-defense.

One online protest that has gotten more than 50,000 pageviews for a national "day of absence." It urges: "If Zimmerman walks, the day after the verdict we are calling for a day of absence, a total national blackout. Call in sick and tired. Call in angry, call in crazy. But call in."

Others have been advocating other "non-violent action." One person wrote: "Spread the word. We must demonstrate with non-violent action whether or not justice prevails for Trayvon Martin's murder."

In Chicago, some are using the case to voice their frustration that people aren't more concerned about the heavy toll of killings in the city.

A man from the North Side wrote, in a large black square on his Facebook page: "200 plus people killed already in Chicago (2013) yet we decide to BLACKOUT our profile pics for someone from Florida whom half of us can't even spell his name correctly. RIP Trayvon."

Zimmerman's supporters have taken to social media too.

A Facebook page titled "George Zimmerman is Innocent" has more than 10,000 likes. "God, please see to it that the Jury on this case see the truth and realize that George Zimmerman is Innocent," a posting on the page reads.

dawilliams@tribune

Twitter: @neacynewslady

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