Are you ready to defend a cause? Then Facebook has you covered! The social media network has a new feature and its name is Community Actions, a News Feed petition feature. TechCrunch was the first medium to present the new feature and it showed its attributes.
Community Actions has the possibility to unite neighbors and citizens under one cause. For example, they can request changes from their local and national elected officials and government agencies. What it means that you won’t have to sign papers on the street, but you can do it through your smartphone. And this features looks noble enough.
The Community Action feature rolled out today to the United States after weeks of testing in a couple of markets. Facebook users can add a title, description, and image to their Community Action. The most important part is to tag relevant government agencies and officials who’ll be notified. But, that doesn’t mean they will pay attention. Now, your goal is to gather as many users as you can in order to support your cause. They can actually hit a“Support” button. Also, Community Actions have their own discussion feed where people can leave comments, create fundraisers, and organize Facebook Events or Call Your Rep campaigns.
But TechCrunch makes a very good point about the new feature: “Community Actions embodies the central challenge facing Facebook. Every tool it designs for positive expression and connectivity can be subverted for polarization and misinformation. Facebook’s membership has swelled into such a ripe target for exploitation that it draws out the worst of humanity. You can imagine misuses like “Crack down on [minority group]” that are offensive or even dangerous but some see as legitimate. The question is whether Facebook puts in the forethought and aftercare to safeguard its new tools with proper policy and moderation. Otherwise, each new feature is another liability.”
We know what you think. That Facebook is trying to become the next Chane.org or Avaaz.org. This is not the case. The social media network want to win the attention of the government to take action. On the other hand, petition websites focus mostly on civilians. But the one-click Support button at the News Feed could massively reduce the process of signing up, and thereby attract organizations and individuals seeking to maximize the size of their supporters.
If you want to see some examples of Community Actions here like a non-profit Colorado Rising calling for the governor to put a moratorium on oil and gas drilling, citizens asking a Florida mayor and state officials to build a performing arts center, and a Philadelphia neighborhood association requesting that the city put in crosswalks by the library.