Facebook is gearing up to launch a petitions feature tomorrow which will allow users to strike up social action in their community for just about anything they want, TechCrunch reports. I can’t help but think that maybe the company hasn’t thought this through quite enough.
The Community Actions feature will reportedly begin rolling out in the US, but it’s not clear whether we’ll see it here in Australia any time soon. We love a petition just as much as anyone else, so I’d wager we’ll probably cop it at some point down the track, assuming the whole thing pans out alright on its first run in its home country.
Of course, there are plenty of sites around already in terms of petition creation, like Change.org, for example, but including an easy way to create and interact with one on the platform most of the links end up on anyway will probably see them become the popular alternative.
Those who have access to the feature will be able to create a petition, tag public officials relevant to the cause, and invite their friends to support it. Similar to events, those supporting a petition will be able to discuss it on the page, as well as create events and fundraisers for it. You can see an example of one right here.
It seems like a bit of a ballsy move by Facebook, considering how easy it would be for someone to create an offensive petition, for example, but the company reckons it has enough safeguards in place to keep that from happening. A mix of algorithms, human safeguards, and user flagging will reportedly be used to keep the feature in check, but I’d wager we’ll still see some suss content slip through the cracks.
Straight off the bat, though, no one will be able to create petitions or tag officials relating to President Trump‘s border wall, or his or Vice President Pence‘s removal from office. I’m sure people on either side of that fence will get creative, though.
Time will tell whether this ends up a total dumpster fire or something which actually works, but my gut is leaning towards the former.
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