Websites to go dark on Friday to honor Sandy Hook victims

Posted on: 4:38 pm, December 20, 2012, by , updated on: 11:38pm, December 20, 2012

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(CNN) – Some major websites will go dark for one minute Friday at 9:30 a.m. ET as part of a national moment of silence for the victims of last week’s shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

It’s unclear how widespread participation will be online, but more than 100,000 people and sites have pledged to participate on the Causes.com page for the Web Goes Silent campaign. People and companies are also spreading the word by tweeting their intention to go quiet with the hashtag #momentforSandyHook.

High-profile Silicon Valley venture capitalist Ron Conway is working hard to promote the online moment of silence, which is part of a larger campaign for federal gun control legislation. Conway is leading the Causes.com campaign along with other big names including Ryan Seacrest, Jack Dorsey, Britney Spears, MC Hammer, Suze Orman and Tyler Florence.

Causes.com is a startup that uses social media to raise awareness and funds for charities and causes. Conway is also an investor in the for-profit company.

Any site that wants to participate in Friday’s moment of silence can do so on its own, or it can embed an official badge with a green ribbon on its site. At webmomentofsilence.org, companies can sign up to receive a bit of JavaScript that will make the process easier. Sites using the code will appear grayed out in the background with a white box in the foreground that reads “We are observing a National Moment of Silence for the victims of the Sandy Hook tragedy.”

Conway joined other tech notables and some celebrities to demand action for stronger gun control in a full-page ad in the Wednesday print edition of the New York Times. The ad was run by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a lobbying group of more than 700 U.S. mayors. It started the Demand A Plan campaign to reform gun laws after the Aurora, Colorado, shootings in July, and it has seen a surge in new support after the Sandy Hook shootings.

This is not the first time major sites have banded together to go dark for a cause. This year, major tech names staged an immense and successful online protest against the Stop Online Privacy Act.