All posts in “online petition”

Social Media Round Up for Jan 20th

Facebook Event Takeaway

During the Facebook Launch Event this Wednesday in San Francisco, Carl Sjogreen, Facebook’s Director of Platform Products, announced the improvements to their new Open Graph and Gestures platforms it introduced during the f8 Developer Conference last September.  With the new Open Graph, developers are able to create apps that allow users to add anything they want directly to their Timeline. Later on, they introduced 60 new now live apps that are tightly integrated to the new platform including some by well-known companies such as eBay, Foursquare, Airbnb, Foodily and LivingSocial.

Not familiar with the new Open Graph concept? Take a look at the video below:

SOPA and PIPA Outrage

Wikipedia, the most respected free encyclopedia website on the Internet, blocked their service  for 24 hours on Wednesday to raise awareness, for those outside of the technology community they claimed, of two proposed legislations regarding Internet censorship – Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect Internet Property Act (PIPA).

For those of you who are not yet familiar with the proposed legislations, here are the descriptions, as described by Wikipedia:

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is a law (bill) of the United States of America proposed in 2011 to fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property and counterfeit goods. Proposals include barring advertising networks and payment facilities from conducting business with allegedly infringing websites, barring search engines from linking to the sites, and requiring Internet service providers (ISP) to block access to the sites. The bill would criminalize streaming of content, with a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

The Protect IP Act (Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011 or PIPA), also known as Senate Bill 968 or S. 968, is a proposed law with the stated goal of giving the US government and copyright holders additional tools to curb access to “rogue websites dedicated to infringing or counterfeit goods”, especially those registered outside the U.S. The bill was introduced on May 12, 2011, by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and 11 bipartisan co-sponsors. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that implementation of the bill would cost the federal government $47 million through 2016, to cover enforcement costs and the hiring and training of 22 new special agents and 26 support staff. The Senate Judiciary Committee passed the bill, but Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) placed a hold on.

Many tech companies like Google, Wikipedia, etc. state that the two bills, if passed by the United States Congress, would fundamentally hurt the Internet Industry.  For example, websites like Youtube, Vimeo, Flickr all seem likely to shut down if the bill becomes law, not to mention the developments of many emerging Internet and social media websites would be forced to stop, which would push technological innovations into the Dark Age according to one Mashable article published on Wednesday.

Content sharing website Reddit, as well as the famous tech blog Boing Boing, also joined forces and shut down their services for 24 hours. Many other websites added banner links, protest pages and published articles on the front page regarding the issue. One of the notable changes was Google covered its logo with a giant black ‘censor’ bar and wrote ‘Tell Congress: Please don’t censor the web!” below with a link to its online petition.

Facebook’s founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, also commented on this issue by tweeting (for the first time in three years) and posted a longer statement on his Facebook page calling the bills “poorly thought out laws” that “get in the way of the internet’s development”.

Watch this infographic video (originally created by Fight for the Future and posted to their Vimeo Channel. Reddit put it up during the service shut down) regarding the SOPA and PIPA bills and the effect they would have on the Internet Industry.

PROTECT IP / SOPA Breaks The Internet from Fight for the Future on Vimeo.

The Effect of the Joint Force

The joint actions of the big players seem to work. The issue soon dominated the Internet and social media world. SOPA and PIPA related discussions exploded on Twitter, generating 2.4 million tweets in merely 16 hours on Wednesday according to Mashable. Around 1,500 protesters gathered outside the offices of Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand (senators who support SOPA and PIPA)  for the rally in NYC.

The official SOPA protest website,, called the protest ‘The Largest Online Protest in History’ with an infograph showing the overall effect to date, and listed all the participating companies and organizations.

Click the image to view the entire infograph

The protest results that were reported on Thursday were quite amazing. According to PC World, more than 162 million people saw the protest message on Wikipedia asking ‘ if you could imagine a world without free knowledge’,  4.5 million people signed a petition,18 representatives have backed away from the proposed legislation, 25 senators now oppose PIPA (the Senate version of SOPA), two SOPA co-sponsors and several others dropped support for the House bill

Still think internet and social media aren’t that of a big deal in legislation? It might be time to reconsider more seriously.

Did We Go Too Far with our Kick Off to Save the 'Bou?

The verdict in the court of public opinion appears to be a resounding YES. And while we may feel otherwise, we hear you, and that’s what this post is about.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Save the’Bou campaign: yesterday we launched, on behalf of four environmental groups (and in a pro bono capacity) an initiative to raise awareness about legislation passed by the Provincial Government but not enacted. Legislation that would protect important parts of Ontario’s Great Boreal forest (one of the largest intact forests on the planet) and home to the woodland caribou, which also happens to be the animal on the Canadian quarter. Without this important protection, the woodland caribou is in very real danger of vanishing forever. Best guesses give it no more than a handful of years without habitat protection.

This is an issue that the groups running this campaign (The David Suzuki Foundation, Greenpeace, Forest Ethics and Canopy) have been trying to raise public awareness around for years with limited success. In part because there are a million “Save the XXX” campaigns and therefore we all ignore most of them.

Enter our approach. Let me first off state that we carefully weighed the risks/benefits, deciding that it would be worth it for SMG to expend some valuable social capital on behalf of such an important cause. We deliberately crafted an edgy, provocative campaign that we hoped would get people talking and thinking about exactly what they care about and what spurs them to action (since, clearly, “Save the XXX” campaigns with very limited budget have trouble cutting through the noise). We set up a Facebook page and Twitter account that stated that the woodland caribou was in danger of being removed from the Canadian quarter. Then members of our team tweeted and re-tweeted, urging people to our Facebook page where the messages were repeated with additional information about the animals endangered status.

Within three hours, once we had a reasonable amount of attention, we switched our platforms to reveal our core message: that it’s not the caribou on the quarter that could disappear, but the animal itself (we should also point out that we fully disclosed the nature of the campaign to each and every person that questioned it directly). At that time (and only then) we also made available links to the online petition and to the groups supporting the campaign. Finally, we asked people to think – if we had simply launched a “Save the XXX” campaign, would anyone have noticed? Would there have been any conversation at all? Why is it a symbol on a coin garners so much attention – from both media and the public – when the fact that the animal itself is in danger of extinction has caused barely a ripple for years?

Thing was, you didn’t like that we told you something that wasn’t true. We got a lot of flak on the backchannel for the approach, and some pretty negative comments on our blog post revealing the campaign. Admittedly this was from a small number of people, but I think for me the deafening silence from almost everyone else in our networks made the biggest impression.

So I’d like to apologize. I’m sorry if you feel we abused your trust and crossed what seems to be a pretty deep line in the social media sand. While this format of campaign is not uncommon in mass marketing, it clearly is not something that is currently acceptable (no matter how supportive of a good cause or not-for-profit) on the social web.

Finally, rather than leaving the post mortem to a vocal few, we’d like to hear YOUR thoughts on this. Tell us what you think we did right/wrong and whether or not the reaction to this campaign is purist dogma or reality knocking. We’d love to hear your feedback. However, before you go, here is a video of our coverage on this issue you may find very interesting. I strongly encourage you to watch it now.