“Zero Minutes Of Fame” Hides The Names Of Mass Shooters On The Internet

Trying to stop copycats by keeping mass shooters from becoming famous.

“Zero Minutes Of Fame” Hides The Names Of Mass Shooters On The Internet
Photo: Joseph Sohm via Shutterstock

Every time there is a horrific mass shooting that makes national news, there is a debate in the media about how much to talk about the killer. Gun control advocates believe that the endless coverage of perpetrator and dissemination of their image disrespects the victims, and some research even shows it brings “fame” to the attackers in a way that may inspire others.

In today’s 24/7 news cycle, the intense media coverage of the killers is seemingly inevitable. But now with a new Chrome plug-in by the Brady Campaign and the marketing firm Ogilvy Mather, anyone can choose to not give killers the fame they want.

“Zero Minutes of Fame” deletes the killers’ names from major news sites and Google search results and replaces them with odes to the victims. The plug-in, released with a new PSA, isn’t perfect because it only covers certain major sites, like CNN. But the point is well taken.

The Brady Campaign cites media figures like Anderson Cooper, Megyn Kelly, and People magazine that have adopted policies to avoid giving shooters notoriety by reducing or refraining from the use of their name and images. Others believe the media has a duty to report the facts of a crime in the public interest–and that includes details about how and why the crime occurred.

According to the Brady Campaign, 30% of mass shootings are inspired by previous events. If that’s the case, solving the root cause of these problems is really what’s necessary. A real media blackout is verging on impossible.

About the author

Jessica Leber is a staff editor and writer for Fast Company's Co.Exist. Previously, she was a business reporter for MIT’s Technology Review and an environmental reporter at ClimateWire.