Feeling passionate about a cause? Facebook is launching a tool that lets users post and sign online petitions right in their news feeds.
The social network will start rolling “Community Actions” out to its US users on Monday. It’s been testing the feature for several weeks in a couple of markets, TechCrunch first reported Sunday, and is building on that existing pilot.
The feature has been used, for example, for a moratorium on drilling in Colorado and efforts to improve pedestrian safety near a library in Philadelphia. Users have the option to simply click “support,” but they can also share related personal testimonies and videos if they want. Elected officials and government agencies tagged on a Community Action will be notified and can respond. Those officials and agencies can also launch their own Community Actions.
The move is part of a larger effort by the social network to build “informed and civically engaged communities,” a Facebook spokesperson said.
“Community Action is another way for people to advocate for changes in their communities and partner with elected officials and government agencies on solutions,” the spokesperson said.
In the past, activists have been able to post petitions to Facebook via third-party platforms like Change.org or Causes.com. Community Actions simplifies the process and gives Facebook direct oversight to monitor and take petitions down if they violate its community standards.
Facebook has been criticized in the past for allowing inauthentic content on its site that’s intent on stirring up emotions around divisive issues.
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