Since the election results came in early on November 9, countless people have been protesting the decisions that president-elect Donald Trump has made. The most recent of those protests is one that focuses on Trump’s decision to appoint known white nationalist Steve Bannon to his staff.
Approximately 46% of Internet users rely on social media when making all kinds of choices, and political activism is no exception.
The Southern Poverty Law Center is using that to their advantage, utilizing social media to help spread their anti-Bannon petition. After signing the petition, the SPLC website gives users an option to share the petition via social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter.
The petition has spread quickly to all corners of the Internet, amassing over 270,000 signatures in the few days that it’s been active.
“We think the choice of Steve Bannon is a disaster,” Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the SPLC, told The Huffington Post. “There’s absolutely nothing on Trump’s record as a candidate that would suggest that he is going to try and unite us in any way.”
The SPLC petition explicitly calls out Bannon for publicly stating that Breitbart, a news platform, is “a platform for the alt-right,” a group which aims to rebrand racism and bolster the white supremacist movement.
Social media has helped the petition gather signatures, but it has played a bigger role in this election cycle.
Petition websites combined with social media has given every individual the chance to enact social change, or at least be more aware of it.
Petitions have long been a way for the public to amend how large corporations and government officials behave, and social media has amplified that.
For example, Aldi Australia’s landmark decision to stop selling eggs from caged hens stemmed from a successful petition that garnered over 97,000 signatures, thanks to social media.
Ordinary people are given the chance to voice their opinions through social media. While not every opinion is constructive, the opportunity to participate in world affairs is often convincing enough to get people involved.
The SPLC has even branched out beyond social media with their petition. They took a full page from the Washington Post this week with a headline that read “Tell Donald Trump To Reject Bigotry and Hate.”