The Craze That’s Taking Over Tech People On Twitter Today


If you’ve been on Twitter today, chances are you’ve seen a change in some of the avatars.

Instead of regular pictures, about 2,500 people have changed their images to a black banner that says STOP SOPA using

If you don’t know what SOPA means, read this explainer post

Blackout SOPA was created by Hunter Walk and Gregor Hochmuth yesterday at noon, so it has caught on pretty quickly.

SOPA is one of two bills (PIPA is the other) that wants to stop online piracy. But the way it’s written could harm Internet innovation.

The bill is an attempt to censor the Internet.  It would enable the government to quickly shut down any violating website without giving the creator much time to respond or defend itself. 

Everyone from Google executives to leading tech investors have taken offence to the bill. Union Square Ventures partner Fred Wilson joined the Blackout SOPA movement and wrote a post this morning encouraging others to do the same.

“It took me about a nanosecond to click on that link and add a ‘STOP SOPA’ banner to my Twitter avatar,” he writes. “This is something i’ve wanted and expected for a month or more. now i’ve got it. Slowly my twitter feed is filling up with avatars with the ‘Stop SOPA’ banner on them.”

If you want to change your picture, visit, authorise the app on your Twitter account, and choose one of three “Stop SOPA” templates.  You can easily revert to your original picture if you decide to stop supporting the cause. 

Others have joined Wilson by blacking out their avatars including Foundry Group’s Brad Feld, Union Square Ventures’ Albert Wenger and Venrock’s David Pakman.

Here’s what BlackoutSOPA looks like:

blackout SOPA

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