One of the "next steps" that quickly gained traction on social media was to text a number to be counted as a participant. Tweets and articles from participants and media (including Refinery29 and several regional marches) urged people to text 89800 and spread the word to their friends, too. In the excitement over the event, it's easy to see why the texting campaign gained traction so quickly — but it's a bit more complicated than it first appears.
After texting the number, people are prompted to fill out a form that includes their zip code and email address. The website has the Women's March logo, but in small print at the bottom, it says the count is being conducted by It's Time Network. On Sunday afternoon, the account for the official Women's March tweeted that the count was being done by a third party and the "Women's March is not behind these efforts." Regional march organizers tweeted similar warnings from their own accounts.
However, It's Time Network maintains that the count is being done for the Women's March organizers. In a statement provided to The Cut, a representative from It's Time explained that the network was in communication with the Women's March earlier this month, but that there was a misunderstanding. "In a march this big with so many moving parts, the Count Me In effort either fell through the cracks or didn’t get communicated. It was all done with the very best of intentions to support the march." In the same statement, she said that It's Time also had permission to use the Women's March logo.
At this point, it seems pretty likely that there was indeed a misunderstanding, so if you did share your data via the 89800 text, you're probably fine. On the network's own website, it says information collected would only be shared with the march. However, it's best to hold off on spreading the word about the headcount until the Women's March confirms this.
We have reached out to the Women's March for more information and will update the article once we know more.