Wikipedia (for better or for worse) says this about the petition website, change.org: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Change.orgCriticismVisibility of personal information
Under certain conditions,[vague]
signatures and other private information including email addresses can be found by search engines. Change.org operates a system for signature hiding, which works only if the user has an account on Change.org.Corporate structure
There has been debate and criticism
around the fact that Change.org is a for-profit business despite using the .org
domain suffix rather than the commercial .com
. The site has been accused of fooling its users and hiding the fact that it is "a for-profit entity that has an economic incentive to get people to sign petitions".
Change.org is being deliberately deceitful through the use of the change.org name. I'd suspect that the average change.org user does not know that Change.org is a for-profit corporation, and that the corporation plans on using the contact information being provided to them to earn revenue.
Change.org spokesperson Charlotte Hill countered this criticism in a September 2013 article in Wired
, saying, "We are a mission-driven social enterprise, and while we bring in revenue, we reinvest 100% of that revenue back into our mission of empowering ordinary people. It's not just that we’re not yet making a profit – it's that we are decidedly not for-profit." Advertising policy
In 2012, the site dropped most of the restrictions it previously placed on paid content. Internal documents began referring to "clients" and "partners" as "advertisers" and stated that "only advertisers strictly identified as 'hate groups' are to be barred."
As a result, Change.org was accused of encouraging astroturfing
and abandoning the progressive user base from which it initially gained traction. Additional controversy arose when the employee who initially leaked the documents was fired.
Of the users who lost interest in the site after this change, a number of them expressed difficulty in being removed from Change.org mailing lists.Selling of personal data
Change.org has also been accused of selling the personal data provided by the users to third-party companies that hire its services, gaining money at the expense of the users.Use for trending topics
Topics for Change.org petitions have grown to include disagreement with the Academy Awards
and removing milk from certain types of coffee.
The authors of these petitions have been criticized for focusing on first world problems
Further debate over the content of petitions came in November 2014 when Martin Daubney
called some of them "bizarre" and stated that the site was being used to promote censorship.
In response, the Change.org communication director John Coventry defended the wide range of petitions, saying that "people make an informed choice in what they want to support."
The following week saw criticism alleging that petitions about the media receive more attention than petitions about "saving 'actual' lives."