Websites Will Have A SOPA Blackout-Style Moment Of Silence For Sandy Hook Victims On Friday

By installing a line of JavaScript code, many websites including Foursquare and Hacker News will display a tribute to victims of the Sandy Hook shooting over their sites on Friday 12/21 at 9:30am EST. The campaign was inspired by a call for a moment of silence by Connecticut’s Governor, and spearheaded by Causes and SV Angel. It follows a coalition of tech leaders calling for more gun control.

Websites interested in taking part in the Web Moment Of Silence can sign up here to receive an email with the code snippet. Companies who’ve signed up to receive the code and will likely participate include Adobe, AOL (TechCrunch’s parent company), Duke University, Patch, Jawbone, Salesforce, Gilt, Jobvite, Crowdtilt, WillCall, Jawbone, Poshmark, Rockmelt, Scoutzie, Silvercar,, and ZocDoc. The tech side of the campaign was built by Alex Wallace of Causes, and distribution was led by Nick Grossman and Union Square Ventures.

The awareness strategy seems inspired by the SOPA website blackouts from January. Instead of completely blocking functionality of participating websites, though, the tribute message can be closed to resume normal browsing. Alternatively, people can click a link in the message to find out what else they can do to aid the campaign.

The moment of silence on websites will coincide with one across social media sites. Over 100,000 people have pledged not to tweet or post to Facebook, including Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, Britney Spears, Suze Orman, Tyler Florence, Goldie Hawn, and Joe Montana. Websites can use code found here to embed a badge on their website asking visitors to participate.

Demand A Plan

The Web Moment Of Silence is supported by the some of the same technology leaders backing the Demand A Plan campaign by Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Ken Lerer of Lerer Ventures, SV Angel’s Ron Conway, Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures Twitter co-founder Evan Williams, Craigslist founder Craig Newmark, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, and many more signed a full-page ad in the New York Times yesterday calling for politicians to formulate a policy plan to reduce gun violence.

Both campaigns raise an interesting question about what the role of the tech community is in politics and social good. Founders have enormous influence through control of widely used web services. Should they participate in campaigns like this? Or is it unfair to impose their opinions on all their users?