February 5, 2017

We The People: Petition Site Update

It seems the petition site is glitchy. A few others have noted this. The We The People site is the direct site that American citizens can use to directly petition the government as guaranteed by the First Amendment. We can use paper petitions, email petitions, and so forth. However, this particular platform is a .gov site and was set up by the Obama administration. Writer Janko Roettgers at Variety has noted the same observations that I have in this article: White House Petition Site Broken Since Inauguration Weekend.

After spending numerous hours combing the internet archive, I noticed a few patterns emerging in the way petitions made it to the main site. The rules of the petition site do state that petitions are not searchable until after they reach 150 signatures. Some petitions are making it to the main site after hitting this mark.

My own inner conspiracy theorist thinks that this petition Remove Steve Bannon from National Security Council is being purposefully held back from the main site. Though, the largely more rational part of me does believe that this is a technical error. I have no doubt that it has met the requisite 150 signature minimum. As I’ve already demonstrated, that signature count should be higher than 1. Today is now February 5. The petition started on February 1. It was widely circulated throughout Twitter and Facebook. The signature count in theory should be high enough for it to be on the main page.

I want to believe that this is a technical difficulty. It is hard to do so given the content of the petition itself and given that several other petitions have made the cut to the main page. It is also hard to do so given the content of some petitions only relate to activities that occurred after the petitions were posted. Make Antifa and similar militant leftist groups labeled a terrorist or criminal organization was supposedly started on January 22nd Screen Shot 2017-02-05 at 23.16.46.png

Petitions of this nature are not new by any means. What does catch me off-guard are two things: the use of the word “Antifa” and the date of creation. Supposedly, this was created two days after the inauguration. The word “Antifa” didn’t hit the widespread American lexicon until the weekend of the Berkeley riots. It snuck in around January 26-27 to certain circles, but didn’t pop until this weekend.

Obviously, this petition could have been started by someone who has used the term for quite some time and who is familiar with the anti-fascist movement. Or, given the glitchiness of the WeThe People site, it could be another technical error… that favours anti-left activists.

Though, I do have to wonder how a petition that is anti-left with just 150 signatures after its supposed inception of January 22 makes the front page whereas a petition that’s anti-right has a faulty counter going on 5 days since its inception. All the other petitions seem to be counting somewhere regularly and irregularly at the same time. It is a tedious yet simple thing to check on the internet archives.

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