Remember your aunties latest rant about the failing economy and low retirement income on Facebook? Well, with this new feature on Facebook, it’s about to become a lot worse…
On January 21st Zuckerberg and friends gave birth to another application for their overcrowded digital playground. ‘Community Actions’ better known as ‘petitions for any and every random cause you can think of’ will very soon be available to every Facebook user. Yes, your auntie is about to become our digital mockingjay in social change, or at least she can try.
This new function allows for users to start their own petitions on any topic they want. A petition is fairly easy to set up. It needs a title, description, image and is completed by tagging the relevant politicians or political instances. A petition is “signed” by pressing the support button and anyone can leave a comment underneath the message.
While we’re pretty concerned about random (concerning) petitions popping up left, right and centre, a Facebook spokesperson said “Facebook is purposefully trying to focus Community Actions to be more narrowly concentrated on spurring government action than just any random cause”. But they do seem to mistakenly see only the best in people. While we’re willing to give our friendslist the benefit of the doubt, strict supervision on the use of this new feature should be in place. Potential harm could be caused to certain social groups, petitions could cause anger and violence and politicians or people in important governmental positions could be put under pressure.
Regardless of the ways people will use this feature, Facebook is pushing social participation and users are given an application to push causes or to act against other ones. it’s self-evident that the ‘community actions’ will be used and abused to start certain discussions or create a following for causes. Time will tell how much impact the community actions will make on public debate and government actions.
But let’s not panic too soon, your aunties not going to incite the real Hunger Games in her next Facebook post. Or is she?