BERKELEY, Calif. — One by one, celebrities came forward this week to say they were sick of the misinformation and hate speech on Instagram and Facebook, its parent company. Many of them — Kim Kardashian West, Katy Perry, Leonardo DiCaprio — have tens of millions of followers on social media.
Then the stars went further. They were not just speaking up to protest Facebook, they said, but would take action, too. On Wednesday, they said, they would freeze their Instagram accounts for 24 hours and not post anything on the photo-sharing site as a kind of moratorium against Facebook.
But the move, which the celebrities made in concert with the Stop Hate for Profit Campaign, a coalition of civil rights organizations that had organized an ad boycott of Facebook in July, quickly became fodder for online criticism. On Twitter, people called the celebrity Instagram freeze a stunt. “Oh god what a sacrifice” to stop posting for a day, one user wrote. Another posted an eyeroll-like emoji and said, “Way to take a risk people.”
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The reaction resembled the griping over how #BlackoutTuesday, an Instagram trend meant to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement by posting images of black boxes, was an ineffective performative gesture rather than a substantive action.
“These stunts are worthless if temporary and short-lived (which they always are),” tweeted Jenna Golden, the head of a consulting firm in Washington, mirroring a common sentiment shared across Twitter. “If anything, they shine a light on