A brand new News Feed petition feature called Community Actions will be rolled out by Facebook which will basically let users request local authorities, national officials, government agencies to take action on requests from their local community provided there is enough traction or support for these demands.
With this new feature, Facebook users can create a community action with a title, description and image, and tag government agencies and officials who will be notified. The ‘community action’ gathers attention and rallies people to ‘support’ it. People can then have their own discussion feed, with comments, users can organize fundraisers, events or Call Your Rep campaigns.
Community Actions will allow users to request change from their local government bodies or officials. The feature is rolling out from 21st January 2019 across the United States. However, Facebook has limited the scope of Community Actions to just government action. Facebook will display the number of supporters of a community action, but it would reflect only those names which are the user’s friends or Facebook pages, or public figures.
The idea behind the feature naturally is to allow people to register demands on the platform, which other people can see, share and “Support” (which will apparently be a dedicated button) which sounds a lot like Change.org. Community Actions feature will definitely be competing with Change.Org as Creating a petition on Change.org is a 2-3 step process, and requires basic details like the cause, a description, and a picture. After the petition is created, users have to garner support via social media on separate platforms, including on Facebook. But in case of Facebook, petition created on Facebook would be easier to publicize (at least on Facebook) to a user’s set of friends. Signing a Change.org petition also requires you to enter your full name, possibly an additional friction factor. Note that even Change.org allows those who sign petitions to withhold their names.
Along with it, the Community Actions will reportedly have its own discussion feed where users will be able to leave comments, create fundraisers and organise Facebook Events. Users will also be able to see how many people are supporting the petition, however, the only names that will be visible to you are of those people who you are friends with and public figures.