Several major Internet companies and thousands of concerned users are successfully lighting up social networks to spread opposition to controversial anti-piracy bills now under debate in the U.S. Congress.
"This is huge," said Rob Enderle, an analyst with the Enderle Group. "[Social networks] pretty much drove the mass objections and stopped this bill from becoming law. I think we are actually seeing the beginning of a huge change in the political process worldwide that [has] social networks at the core."
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All eyes yesterday were on the Internet companies that either shut down their websites or used them to launch other protests against the two primary online piracy bills -- the Stop Online Piracy Act that's under consideration in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the Protect Intellectual Property Act that's being debated in the U.S. Senate.
For example, the Wikipedia website went dark today and Google draped a black banner across its home page while posting information from opponents of the bills.
A lot of the interest and concern about the protests germinated from a flood of tweets and status updates in recent weeks on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and other social networks. Multiple Internet companies, along with everyday users, took to various social networks to spread the word and build opposition to the bills.
The online protests appear to be working.
The New York Times reported today that Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) this morning pulled his support for the anti-piracy legislation that he co-sponsored.
And Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) told his Facebook followers that he no longer supports the anti-piracy bills as written.
"Better to get this done right rather than fast and wrong," Cornyn posted. "Stealing content is theft, plain and simple, but concerns about unintended damage to the Internet and innovation in the tech sector require a more thoughtful balance, which will take more time."
Politicians like Cornyn are just some of the people using social networks to communicate their thoughts on the legislation.
Everyday users of social networks have also been flooding those networks with criticism of the legislation.