A lone hashtag may not look very powerful, but when used en masse, the icons can become incredibly powerful activism tools.

For the past two decades – largely since product designer Chris Messina threw hashtags on Twitter in 2007 – Activists have learned to use the symbols to form online communities, raise awareness of pressing issues, organize protests, create digital narratives and redirect social media discourse.

On a given day, a series of hashtags will appear in …

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