An online petition and social media movement helped save lives in Uganda’s homosexual community following the Ugandan Parliament’s attempt to re-introduce an “Anti-Homosexuality” bill that could sentence LGBT Ugandans to death for “aggravated homosexuality.”
News about the bill broke late last week, and the international community immediately jumped onto social media to sign petitions and protest the bill. AllOut, an organization defending LGBT rights, launched an online appeal to the Ugandan government. Within 30 hours, more than 300,000 people from every country in the world signed the petition with more than 200,000 shares on Facebook and other social media channels.
As of Wednesday morning, the number of signatures totaled more than 450,000. Much of that reach can be attributed to the speed of an engaged social media community: “At last count, we’ve had 1,072,441 pageviews on the campaign and almost 60% of that has come through Facebook and Twitter,” said AllOut co-founder Andre Banks. “What we’re seeing is not an entirely new phenomenon — people have always activated their networks in times of crisis and called them to action. What’s different is the speed and ease that platforms like Facebook and Twitter allow.”
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