Facebook has launched Community Actions; a new online petitions feature to help users call for action on certain issues and notify government officials.
Facebook isn’t done with politics. Far from it. The social network is launching a feature called Community Actions in the U.S. this week, after testing it in several markets first. The feature is essentially an online petition that allows users to demand action from their government representatives, by taking part in discussions, creating fundraisers, and organising Facebook Events or Call Your Rep campaigns.
The Community Actions feature lets users add a title, description, and image and get government agencies and representatives involved by tagging them. People can then use the “Support” button to show their agreement with certain actions. Their names will only be shown to their friends, and only Pages or public figures will have their names shown publicly.
Facebook wants this feature to be used specifically to help communities bring certain issues to the attention of government (local or otherwise) to take action. I am not sure how it will keep things “serious,” as it’s highly possible that people will use the feature for absolutely anything, including but not limited to “asking Senators to shut down Facebook or depose Mark Zuckerberg” as TechCrunch’s Josh Constine explains.
Community Actions is a confusing move from a company that is facing all kinds of criticism; on the one hand for election interference, fake news and misinformation, and on the other hand, continuing privacy scandals. In a perfect world, giving people the power to organise and mobilise (especially through a platform like Facebook) is a great idea. Given the situations that Facebook has gotten itself into over the last few years, I would think Community Actions is a terrible idea.
I think we can all agree that Facebook is a great tool, but unfortunately, it’s being put in the wrong hands all too often nowadays.