Boston Globe’s #MakeItStop Tweetstorm on Gun Violence Electrifies the Web

June 16, 2016, 5:45 PM UTC
Friends and family members embrace outside the Orlando Police Headquarters after a shooting at the Pulse night club in Orlando
Friends and family members embrace outside the Orlando Police Headquarters during the investigation of a shooting at the Pulse night club, where as many as 20 people have been injured after a gunman opened fire, in Orlando, Florida, U.S June 12, 2016. REUTERS/Steve Nesius TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RTX2FU6A
Steve Nesius — Reuters

In the evening of June 15, as Democrats neared the tenth hour of a filibuster to demand more effective gun control laws, the Boston Globe was printing its Thursday edition with a three word front-page editorial: Make It Stop. As the presses ran, the paper began its Twitter campaign of hammering the point home repeatedly with a #MakeItStop hashtag.

Since the mass shooting at a gay club in Orlando, in which 49 people died, the entire media ecosystem — from late-night comedians to TV anchors to newspapers– have been focused on America’s gun violence epidemic. The Globe took an unusual approach–it published a front-page editorial and multimedia calling on Congress to pass a new assault weapons ban, “written for the realities we face in 2016.” And it turned its Twitter feed into a sort of running op-ed, focused on gun violence in America.

Some of the tweets were snippets of the editorial.

Several of the tweets simply listed the names of people killed by guns, with well over 100 mentioned as of noon Thursday.

The Globe also repeated a tweet with a video link titled “Here’s what it’s like to be shot with an assault rifle” that explained how an assault rifle can do far more damage than a handgun.

The tweets were interspersed with one mentioning other stories the organization was covering as well as updates from the filibuster that lasted into the early morning.

Links in the tweets brought viewers to a multimedia webpage that displayed the number of mass shootings and people killed since the assault weapons ban expired in 2004 and an animation of how many shots someone could have fired from an automatic rifle in the time a user spent on the Globe’s page.

The result was a trending hashtag on Twitter, #MakeItStop, with politicians, professional organizations, members of the media, and many others echoing the message.

People have also used the term #makeitstop on Twitter extensively in the past to refer to a wide variety of subjects, including reality television shows, car maintenance expenses, and Candy Crush game requests.

The Boston Globe declined to comment on its #MakeItStop coverage.