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The Funniest Internet Reactions to the Anti-SOPA Blackout

Updated January 6, 2021 243.4k views30 items

On Wednesday, January 18th, 2012, several of the largest websites (including Wikipedia and Reddit) took their services down for part of the day - or even 24 straight hours - in protest of the proposed SOPA and PIPA legislation being discussed in Congress. (Here's a list of most of the major websites going down in protest of SOPA/PIPA.) SOPA (the Stop Online Piracy Act) had, by that time, temporarily stalled out in the House, and its corresponding Senate bill PIPA (the Protect IP Act) was up for a procedural vote the following week. (Some Senators, including one of PIPA's initial sponsors - Senator Patrick Leahy - had conceded that issues with the bill may need to be amended before they come to an open vote.)

SOPA and PIPA are designed to fight online piracy and protect copywrited materials such as films, TV shows, writing and other intellectual property. The main complaints from websites such as Google, Twitter, Wikipedia, Tumblr and others is that the bills are too harsh, and end up stifling free and open communication rather than serving their intended functions.

This list collects the most amusing reactions on Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere to the temporary loss of popular websites, particularly Wikipedia and Reddit.
  • 1

    Futurama Fry

  • 2


    With Wikipedia down, the #FactsWithoutWikipedia hashtag took over Twitter, as people made up their own facts to fill in newfound knowledge gaps. Here were some of the highlights of this meme:

  • 3

    Kids Complaining About Wikipedia

    The sad reality is, a LOT of students are relying almost solely on Wikipedia to complete their schoolwork. Don't believe me? Check out all the young people on Twitter struggling to finish their assignments while the free and mildly trustworthy reference site took a rare 24 hour break. (NOTE: Many of these tweets were spotted by the excellent account @herpderpedia, dedicated entirely to retweeting silly things tweeted about the Wikipedia blackout.)

    And my favorite...

  • 4

    Misunderstanding the Blackout

    Many people just weren't reading up on the information about SOPA/PIPA and failed to understand why so many sites decided to go down all together on the same day. Alternative backstories and even conspiracy theories were plentiful: