And its hashtag has become one of the most successful of all political and social issue hashtags on Twitter since its inception, a study by Pew Research has found. As of May 1, 2018, the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag has been used nearly 30 million times on Twitter since July 2013, when it was first used in reaction to the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin. That’s an average of 17,002 times per day. Pew points out the hashtag often spikes around real-world events such as when Eric Garner died in custody or during the Ferguson, Missouri, protests involving the shooting death of Michael Brown.
The study also found that 69% of Americans think social media campaigns and hashtags are useful in getting elected officials to pay attention to issues, while 67% believe they create sustained movements for social change.