Blackout Tuesday's flood of black squares may be silencing #BlackLivesMatter hashtag and protesters

People are being encouraged to reserve #BLM and #BlackLivesMatter hashtags for useful information.

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Carrie Mihalcik
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Posts on Instagram using the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter.

Screenshot by CNET

Social media sites, particularly Instagram, have been flooded with images of black squares today as part of Blackout Tuesday, as people aim to show solidarity with the black community and protests over racial injustice. Activists and organizers, however, are urging people not to use the #BlackLivesMatter and #BLM hashtags with these posts so that vital information isn't drowned out. 

"Reminder: If you are going to post a picture for #BlackOutTuesday, do not use the hashtag 'Black Lives Matter'. Information is continuously being spread through that hashtag! Promote them separately," Geeks of Color, a group focused on issues of diversity and inclusion, tweeted Tuesday.

Others also encouraged people to show their support without drowning out posts using #BlackLivesMatter and #BLM to share information about protests.

In the wake of George Floyd's death in police custody and the ensuing protests worldwide, the music industry called for June 2 to be turned into "Blackout Tuesday," a day to press pause on business as usual and turn toward fighting racial injustice. Many other people joined the call for a day of action by posting images of black squares to social media. As of 9:30 a.m. PT on Tuesday, there were more than 17 million posts on Instagram using the hashtag #BlackoutTuesday.

Floyd, an African American, died on May 25 after then-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was captured on video pressing his knee on Floyd's neck for more than eight minutes as Floyd repeatedly said, "I can't breathe." Protests since then have been staged worldwide, many peaceful but with some erupting in violence. 

Chauvin, who was fired, was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter on Friday. The three other officers involved were also fired and are under investigation. 

On Tuesday, Instagram acknowledged concerns about the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag being flooded with images of black squares. The company said people can edit posts to remove the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag and their post will no longer be shown on Instagram's hashtag page, adding that it can take up to 10 minutes for a post to be removed once edited.