Change.org allows advertisements by companies as long as they are “about public causes”, so they often take the form of petitions. The advertising revenue also allows them to “give the Change.org community an opportunity to provide grassroots support to a petition through promoted petitions”. If I understand this rightly, it means that if you offer them enough money, they’ll use email addresses gathered from genuine grassroots initiatives and will advertise Uber’s petition to as many of their 100 million users as you’d like them to.
Does it still make sense to talk about “public opinion”, a “public outcry” or the “grassroots” in a context where modes of political participation are manufactured as public relations exercises for companies seeking political and legislative advantage?
So, when Greenpeace, FotE, 38 Degrees and all the rest present us with an online petition we can just ignore them then?
That is good to know, thanks!