Building policies to protect democracy.
With the election rapidly approaching, platforms across the internet, including Change.org, are working overtime to make sure their spaces are fair and safe. In doing so, we’re helping to make sure that people get the information they need to take part in the democratic process, along with the tools they need to have their say. When disinformation spreads — especially during an election year — democracy is at stake.
Stepping up to the challenge.
As an open platform, we are all about freedom of expression. Anyone can start a petition on Change.org, provided they follow our platform policies. But with over 350 million people using Change.org worldwide, the community has a major impact on shaping democracies. To that end, it’s important that we build and implement robust policies to keep that community safe and well informed.
What does democracy mean? For us, it means that everyone has an equal opportunity to participate in the shaping of their community. It’s our responsibility to make sure that content on our site isn’t hurting the democratic process.
So here’s what we’re doing:
Working around the clock.
To make sure we can monitor the ever-increasing number of new campaigns created around the 2020 election effectively, we have put in place processes to assess content 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We’re working constantly to identify disinformation campaigns or abusive behavior and catch potentially harmful petitions as early as possible. Not only are we looking at activity on Change.org, but we are also monitoring news consistently to ensure that we can respond rapidly to potentially harmful petitions in a fair way based on robust fact-checking and clearly articulated policies.
Sticking to our open platform values.
Dissent, disagreement, and debate are all essential parts of democracy, and our platform encourages all three. Disinformation is another matter, and so are hate speech and incitations of violence. As we saw in the 2016 election, misinformation causes harm — and we cannot allow that. Our Community Guidelines are very clear: We don’t allow hate speech or content started by known hate groups and we will remove petitions that incite violence or are verifiably misleading in a way that causes harm.
In the context of this election and what’s at stake — our very democracy — we’re not taking any chances. We’re working with experts to make sure we’re doing things right and keeping in line with our mission to empower everyday people around the world to make their voices heard.
Listening to the community.
Change.org is a community of over 350 million individuals who care about the world around them. Every member of this community helps keep the platform safe. When on the Change.org platform, anyone can report harmful petitions by clicking “Report a policy violation” (below “Reasons for signing”) on petitions or by reaching out to the Help Center.
As an active citizen, it can be difficult to find the truth when bad actors are trying to spread disinformation. We firmly believe that the integrity of our democratic process depends on making sure petition starters and supporters are free to come to Change.org to participate in their communities free from content that causes harm. We know that — like us — people who use Change.org care about everyone having a say in the future of our country. So let’s make it fair and let’s keep it safe.
For more information on our policies and community guidelines, visit change.org/policies.