Pew Research Center marked the fifth anniversary of the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag with an analysis of its use on Twitter, along with the use of hashtags related to political or social issues such as #MeToo, #JeSuisCharlie, #MAGA, #LoveWins and #Resist.
According to Pew, the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag was used nearly 30 million times from its inception in July 2013 through May 1 of this year, or an average of 17,002 times per day.
Usage of the hashtag spiked during news events involving race, law enforcement and fatal shootings. Pew said that from July 7 through 17, 2016—after police officers fatally shot Alton Sterling and Philando Castile and police officers were fatally shot in Dallas and Baton Rouge, La.—#BlackLivesMatter appeared in nearly 500,000 tweets daily.
Similarly, #MAGA has been used an average of 205,238 times per day from Election Day 2016 through May 1, and #LoveWins was used 7 million times on the day the U.S. Supreme Court upheld same-sex marriage and another 3 million times the following day.
Pew also conducted a study of 4,594 U.S. adults between May 29 and June 11, and its findings included:
- 69 percent of respondents believe social media is very or somewhat important for getting elected officials to pay attention to issues.
- 67 percent felt the same way about creating sustained movements for social change.
- 53 percent have engaged in at least one of the five political or social-minded activities measured by Pew over the past year.
- African-American social media users were more likely than white social media users to say those sites are very or somewhat important to them for finding others who share their views about important issues (54 percent, compared with 39 percent), getting involve with issues that are important to them (52 percent versus 36 percent) and giving them a venue to express their political opinions (53 percent versus 32 percent).
- 65 percent say social media highlights important issues that may not get a lot of attention.
- 64 percent say social media helps give a voice to underrepresented groups.
- 56 percent say social media makes it easier to hold powerful people accountable for their actions.
- 77 percent say social media distracts people from issues that are truly important.
- 71 percent say social media makes people think they are making a difference when they really aren’t.