Social media is a powerful and useful platform to promote products and services but it can also become a powerful tool to provide social justice to anyone who is discriminated against.
Throughout the years, hashtags have been used to spread information and enable the rest of the world to see the injustices made by other people.
Social media activism and the use of hashtags have sparked an outcry for justice and have become viral trends. Check out the hashtags that changed the world.
The historic hashtag originated in 2012 when 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot dead by the police.
A few more similar incidents happened in the following years but it wasn't until the height of the pandemic in May 2020 following the death of George Floyd right at the hands of police custody.
He was last seen in a viral video where he was pinned down by Minneapolis police by his neck as he screamed for his life that he could not breathe. Later on, Floyd would be pronounced dead.
This initiated protests all over the US and the rest of the world that sparked a revolution through social media. Even celebrities all over the world joined in on the protests and cities all over the US suffered mass looting during these protests.
The Me Too movement started in 2006 when activist Tarana Burke posted about her horrendous experience.
It wasn't until 2017 when actress and activist Alyssa Milano tweeted the hashtag Me Too that sparked a wave of confessions from women all over the world about sexual harassment and assault.
The hashtag became known as the hashtag for calling out sexual abusers on social media. The movement became so popular that it also exposed a lot of predators in different sectors and industries.
One such high-profile case was the exposure of Harvey Weinstein where dozens of women accused him of sexual assault and abuse.
The Me Too movement continued for many years and has branched off into another pivotal movement called the Time's Up Movement.
The movement used the hashtag TimesUp which meant that the time was up for men in the entertainment industry to be called out and face the consequences of their actions.
Over 300 Hollywood celebrities would join the movement through the use of hashtags and come out to talk about their experiences with sexual misconduct in the workplace.
The movement's focus is all about providing legislation on gender issues regarding the workplace and better protection for women against sexual harassment and abuse.
The Ice Bucket Challenge started as a playful challenge between people within social media. In this challenge, one would pour a bucket of iced water all over them and provide a list of people challenging them to take on the challenge as well.
They are encouraged to donate funds to the ALS Association to find a cure for such a debilitating disease.
What truly made the Ice Bucket Challenge not just a social trend but a worldwide movement when celebrities joined in the challenge and made it viral.
Celebrities like Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian, LeBron James, Chris Pratt, and many more have joined the challenge and donated to the cause.
#BringBackOurGirls sparked controversy on how social media activism and the use of hashtags might have caused a more complex outcome in such an incident.
In April 2014, nearly 300 schoolgirls were abducted in a village in northern Nigeria. This sparked the use of the hashtag and soon enough, more and more people have used the hashtag to seek justice and help find the missing girls.
More and more high-profile individuals such as Cara Delevign and even First Lady Michelle Obama have used the hashtag in support of the parents whose children are still not found.
The outcome of the entire incident has led to people questioning whether the hashtag has harmed or helped the entire procedure when it would have been better to say nothing instead.
The story of Mahsa Amini started when 22-year-old Iranian resident Mahsa Amini was arrested by Iranian morality police due to the country's very strict dress code.
In Iran, women were not allowed to show any skin or even hair and Amini was indeed wearing her hijab at the moment of arrest. Days later, Mahsa Amini would perish as she succumbed to the injuries she sustained while being detained by the morality police.
This sparked outrage in many areas of Iran and outside of the country. Protests led by women began but they only grew worse as more women fell victim to the violence caused by the Iranian government.
Up to this very day, the hashtag is being used as a sign of protest as the country has blocked all kinds of media in an attempt to control the outrage.
Week after week, the United States would suffer mass shootings that would end up killing thousands of people and children every year.
The US has been the leading country with the most mass shootings and it continues to do so to this very day. The biggest backlash to gun control and legislation happened in 2018 after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Florida.
The hashtag was used on all social media calling out politicians to provide proper safety protocols for gun owners across the United States.
Up to this very day, the battle for gun safety remains up in the air as more mass shootings continue to occur throughout the country.
The use of hashtags has always proven to be very effective in pushing critical messages forward. It has transformed the way we use social media as well as how we seek to tip the balance toward justice these days. These hashtags have changed our society and have amplified the voices of marginalized groups and individuals.