Join Our Censorship Protest!

Have you been paying attention to all the hubbub online about the proposed U.S. legislation (SOPA/PIPA) that threatens internet freedom? I wrote about it last week over on, but the gist is this: there’s a bill in the U.S. Senate that if passed would put publishing freedom severely at risk, and could shut down entire sites at the whim of media companies. Fight for the Future created this nifty video to sum it up better than I can.

On January 18, 2012, sites all over the internet will be blacking out to protest and try to mobilize more people to speak out against this bill coming up in the Senate next week — S. 968: the Protect IP Act (PIPA) — in an attempt to let U.S. lawmakers know how much opposition there is., Wikipedia, and even VIP I Can Has Cheezburger? will be participating in the blackout to raise awareness and spur you to action.

Here on, we want to participate as well. Freshly Pressed will be blacked out during the strike.

Blacked out Freshly Pressed screen

Sorry to take away your daily fix of yummy web content, but this bill threatens to do that on a much wider scale. You don’t want that, do you?

More importantly, we are making it possible for you to participate in the protest. There are two options: a “Stop Censorship” ribbon and a full blackout. The blackout portion will be in effect January 18 from 8am to 8pm EST, while the ribbon will be displayed until January 24. Here’s how to join in:

Settings menu

  1. Go to Settings → Protest SOPA/PIPA in your dashboard.
  2. Select if you want to join the blackout or show a ribbon.
  3. If you choose to join the blackout, you can edit the message that will be shown on your site during the blackout.
  4. Preview what your protest will look like.
  5. Click “Save Changes” button to activate your protest.

That’s it! Easy-peasy activism right at your fingertips.

The “Stop Censorship” ribbon will display in the upper corner of your site and links to It will display until January 24, 2012 (the Senate vote date).

If you choose to do the blackout in addition to the ribbon, then we will black out your site from 8am to 8pm EST along with the official strike. You can customize the message that will appear on your blacked-out site to tell people why this issue is important to you. Your site will return to just displaying the ribbon after the strike is over.

I hope that a significant number of you on will join in this protest. Publishing freedom is a right we must protect.

And one last pitch: whatever you decide to do about your site, please take a few minutes to head over to and take action. It only takes a few moments of your time to be an agent of change!

Update, 1/18/2012: For about an hour and a half of the blackout, our blackout option was down because it was not showing the blackout screen and some sites were returning blank error pages. We disabled it until we could make it work properly, which it is now doing, so anyone who chose the blackout option should now see the correct screen. 

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Jane Wells


Comments are closed.

  1. J. Major

    Excellent… thanks WP for setting this up for us! Down with SOPA and PIPA!

  2. Dangerous Lee

    Love this! Using it already. I am more than happy to support this :)

  3. Angeline M

    Thanks for helping us accomplish this on WordPress!

  4. Pingback: On Strike to Oppose SOPA and PIPA « Nerds of the Round Table
  5. Cosette

    Thank you so much for making this possible for those of us on

  6. MK

    Reblogged this on MK on the go and commented:
    MK on the go will be blacked out tomorrow in protest of SOPA and PIPA. Make sure you sign your name at

  7. juju333

    Thank you for making it so easy to be a part of something so big. How do we share this with our facebook or twitter followers?

  8. Taylor Reints/Streight

    What happened to Freedom of Speech?

  9. RAFrenzy

    Will happily join as I already had a post written and using the same video! LOL! Great minds….

  10. timethief

    Thank you.

  11. steiderstudios

    I’m participating!

  12. detritusmind

    Really glad to have this option.. thank you! All my blogs are blacking out.

  13. Beth Ann

    Thank you for posting this! I was trying to figure out how to make my blog “dark” and you made it really easy!!! Thank you so much for taking part and allowing us to do it easily too!!!

  14. nrhatch

    Thank you! The Black Out notice looks GREAT!

  15. dhavalrajgeera

    I am Supporting and participating,

    Rajendra Trivedi, M.D.

  16. Ren

    I’m in! Thank you!

  17. PiedType

    Thank you, WP. This is what I’ve wanted all along. Now we need to spread the word — FAST!!

  18. Morgan Sully (@memeshift)

    Is there a plugin for self-hosted WordPress blogs?

  19. Musicofourheart

    Thanks Jane. I’m in.

  20. Olivia Tejeda

    I’m participating … I must participate, but the timing couldn’t be WORSE!! My site and online weekly writing retreats were just mentioned in the latest issue of Oprah Magazine. UGH!!! But not adding my voice to this cry would be wrong…. so count me blacked out. But once … JUST ONCE, I wish I could time things a little better. Grumble grumble.

    • Jane Wells

      You are awesome for taking action even if it means losing some of that Oprah traffic. Be sure you customize the message for the blackout screen. You could tell the Oprah visitors to come back the next day!

  21. David W. Boles

    This is beautiful and fantastic!

    All 14 hosted blogs in the Boles Blogs Network are going dark tomorrow and taking on the ribbon.

    Thank you for making this important protest so easy and seamless to join.

  22. Matt George

    Yeah, I changed my site. I always thought it was too much control to censor! It’s all about making a change. One person’s voice can make a difference!

  23. joeg723

    I was only recently and vaguely aware of this protest, and not at all of WordPress’s participation. I am a blogger here and on the e-mail list for other information, so it seems you didn’t send out any notice of WordPress’s participation, or that bloggers could join in, which I would have done. You should make a better effort to communicate things like this.

    • Jane Wells

      If we had finalized our decision earlier, we would have! Normally we stay out of politics completely, so as not to alienate any of our users — we may disagree with people/sites on a personal level, but as a business we try to be neutral. We decided this was important enough to break our neutrality, and we worked our butts off today to build the option for all users to participate. Better late than never! (And it’s not really too late, since the protest is tomorrow, not yesterday.)

  24. Lynn

    Thanks for making this available to .com users!

  25. Robert

    Great job. Thank you for providing this option.

  26. fjpoblam

    I had already designed an informative blackout blog entry of my own (up for a week now), but I added your ribbon. Congratulations on participating.

  27. Suzanne

    Thank you very much for providing us this option. It is very important to stop SOPA & PIPA.

  28. Diane

    Count me in! And, thank you, for making the blackout so easy on my blog.

  29. ronit18

    Hats off to you for organizing us all!

  30. Affordable RV Solutions

    Although we support “Protest SOPA/PIPA”, the WordPress banner covers the link to our “links” page. Too bad one cannot adjust the placement of the banner.

  31. knowledgeproblem

    Many thanks for your great efforts!

  32. Olivia Ashe, writer

    I’m outside America but I support you :)

  33. PatDDixon

    I am in. Please check my blog post on SOPA, no words, just a pic…
    and share the pic if you are so inclined! Cheers, all!

  34. greenscorpio

    I’m not from the US but surely, this will affect us, or everyone in the world using the internet. Thanks for this! :D I’ll spread the news!

  35. PatDDixon

    I also wish we could choose a full blackout on a daily basis, or censorship, rather than a full week, hope that is possible. Thanks for organizing it here!

    • Jane Wells

      The full blackout is only on January 18th from 8am – 8pm EST. The ribbon in the upper right corner is the part that will be there until the 24th.

  36. pocketfarms

    Definitely joining the protest. PIPA/SOPA is a serious threat to 21st century democracy.

  37. moneymakingjus

    This reminds me of the 2007 Writers Strike. Well I’m joining in this protest.

  38. Rosedale Gardens

    get the government involved and things get screwed up!!!

  39. Sajib

    I have already changed my header and published a post about the fact. Thanks to WordPress for this update. I thought I wouldn’t be able to show the ribbon because of no access to core files like in

  40. alejna

    I am very pleased that is taking such strong action on this issue. Thank you for making it possible and easy for us to join in on the protest.

  41. Pingback: SOPA Bad for Almost Everyone (Including You) | Play Unplugged
  42. Gail McCormick

    Thank you for making it so easy for us to participate in this protest. Much appreciated!

  43. scrunchyy

    Thank you for doing this! Count me in.

  44. mobwars

    Thank you for making this so easy to do WP! Mob Wars Blog will be blacked out :)

  45. Ronin

    I’ve done both the ribbon and black out, and put it all over my social networks as a call to action. Glad to have this option, much better than the protest post I was putting together.

  46. Jason Phan

    ribbon on, blackout commenced. FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHTS!

  47. marcsylvir

    Thank you for giving me the option to black out my site tomorrow; which I have done. And yes, it was very easy.

  48. azhou

    thank you wordpress!!


    Thank you WordPress! I believe Reddit and Wikipedia are doing the same. =}

  50. moneymakingjus

    Does every websites including mine will get blackout?

    • Jane Wells

      Only websites that opt in to the protest in their Settings screen according to the directions in the post will be blacked out on As for other sites around the web, that is up to each site owner.

  51. wutheringwillow

    Joining in! I have tweeted about it too.

  52. Pingback: This blog blacks out because of SOPA/PIPA « The Naked Listener's Weblog
  53. advgrrls


  54. poppitsmum

    Reblogged this on poppitsmum and commented:
    Please don’t ignore this. It’s potentially the start of them taking away our rights completely.

  55. Signe

    Good luck guys, I’m in Australia and have opted for the ribbon….

  56. My Camera, My Friend

    Thanks for explaining all of this. I’m against movie piracy and infringement of photographic copyright, but some things can go too far.

  57. Karen

    Thanks, WP, for allowing us to take part in the protest!

  58. VeronicaThePajamaThief

    Count me in!

  59. Alexandra Román

    I’m in!

  60. Ron M

    Thank you for this. I’m proud to stand with my brothers and sisters in this protest.

  61. jlboyer55


  62. Mikalee Byerman

    I know that WordPress typically stays out of the political fray, so this is a bold statement — and one appreciated by many!

    I’ll be tweeting and sharing this as well…


  63. Gerard Keledjian

    Count me in!

  64. terahve

    I am so glad for this, WordPress team, many thanks and much respect.

  65. pattisj

    Thanks, WordPress, for giving us a voice.

  66. W.G. Cambron

    I’m protesting not only these bills but ALL forms of big government. Like Thomas Jefferson I have pledged to rebel against all forms of tyranny!

  67. barb19

    Supporting this 100%!

  68. E.C.

    I opted in !

  69. claudiacsn

    Gah, why do I not have this option in my settings? I would love to participate but I’ve already refreshed and try from another computer? Am I missing something here :/

    • Jane Wells

      It should appear in the left hand menu as one of the Settings sub-screens. If you are having trouble finding it, please contact support for assistance.

  70. Richard Ramirez

    For those of you who missed the report. It was stated yesterday that Obama wasn’t going to let this happen. Here is the link of the article.
    So I think that Big Brother lost in this case. Thanks to many who have written to congress regarding this issue of privacy.

    • Jane Wells

      Not so fast. Yesterday we were all excited that SOPA had been shelved. Late this afternoon it was brought back to life. We can’t count on an executive veto — a 2/3 vote could override that anyway. We need to convince the Senators and Representatives that we are passionately opposed to these bills so that they will not push them through.

  71. Jeanette

    Thank you. I have my site set up for the blackout + ribbons now.

  72. drifterqueen

    I considered customizing the blackout screen message, but I realized that WordPress had already done a fantastic job. Anything I add would just detract from the message…Thank you WordPress for raising awareness about this important issue! And extra thankyous for making it so easy for us to do so as well! :D

  73. Murdercakes

    I’ll be blacking out all three of my WordPress blogs. Thank you so much for giving us this option.

  74. evasantiago310

    I just did! Thanks for making it so easy :)

  75. nendhen

    The ribbon is ON.. d(^^)b

  76. bydesign001

    Never thought that I would leave you guys a comment (no offense) but thanks, very much.

  77. Mike

    Thank you for officially supporting this,! My blog will be completely blacked out as well.

  78. melissamevans

    Consider me joined…I’m going to help first thing tomorrow morning.

  79. Seek Media Group (@SeekMediaGroup)

    Jane, this is awesome! It’s not showing in my settings. Is there another way to do it or am I being impatient? :)

    • Jane Wells

      I just added a graphic to the post to show you where to find the settings. If you still can’t find it, contact support and they can see if something is up.

  80. Chris

    Thanks wordpress for doing this. I was going to try and manually black things out but this is much easier to do. Makes my life much easier.

  81. blastedgoat

    I already had a banner up from when I first heard of this. Great idea! I’m glad WordPress cares about our freedom of expression :D

  82. Yvette Porter Moore

    Thank You Thank You! I am going to be participating!!

  83. Pingback: How to set up your website to participate in the SOPA/PIPA blackout | Magnificent Nose
  84. Neil Fein

    All my WP blogs will black out tomorrow. This tool is immensely helpful, and much easier than the text-widget method that’s been floating around the forums.

  85. mickwares

    I am joining the censorship and I think it is very important that we all get involved!!

  86. Tricia

    Thank you for making it easy for us non-coders to join the protest!

  87. nuevosmercados

    Free Internet forever!
    Internet is ours!
    Internet is not the politicians and their business.
    Free Internet forever!
    Supporting this 100%!

  88. thewanderingmoon

    I’ve already added the ribbon to my site. Thanks for letting us know about this legislation!

  89. withlovetoshare

    Thank you!

  90. すずる

    I was afraid I couldn’t use the blackout because free blogs can’t install widgets freely. However, this made it possible. Thanks!

  91. Simple Pleasures Bookgal

    Simple Pleasures Books blog is on blackout until the 24th

  92. carmenalexe

    Thank you Worpdress and thank you to all the courageous bloggers for taking such steps on maintaining Internet Freedom and along with that individual liberty. By the way, Reddit and Wikipedia are joining. But Facebook and Twitter are not protesting. Why am I not surprised?

  93. paragonsigns

    I dont see the blackout option on my wordpress site at

  94. Pingback: joins SOPA Blackout | one cool site
  95. Ro Robertson

    Thanks Jane and WordPress for making this possible. My Stop SOPA banner is up. Our freedom of speech will not be taken away!!!

    R Robertson

  96. David Mathi Raj

    Good move WordPress. Well done. What will happen to the Statue of Liberty in US?

  97. oelken

    Count me in!

  98. Hamid Lorette

    FUCK YEAH, I reserve the right to express myself FREELY SOMEWHERE IN THIS WORLD OTHER THAN YELLING AGAINST THE WALL, hopefully this protest will work!

  99. Margaret

    The ribbon looks nice and makes a statement. I didn’t know this was going on until I saw the WordPress home page blacked out. It took me by surprise and I searched the net for more info on it. Thank you for caring.

  100. metrocatpiss

    I’ve got a WP site hosted through GoDaddy, and the option doesn’t show up in my settings menu. Is there a way I can participate as well, without doing a bunch of editting? My only Internet access is through my phone currently, so the easier the better.

    Thanks, and even if I don’t end up being able to participate, I appreciate that WP is doing this.


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