As an open platform, we’re committed to free speech. You’ll see an extremely wide range of petitions here, as they’ve all been created by people in the community. Anyone can use Change.org no matter who they are, where they live, and what they believe, as long as they follow some very simple rules to keep our platform as safe and as open as possible for our users. These rules apply to all content you post, including comments, profile photographs and usernames.
To help us do that we’ve put together these Community Guidelines which, along with our Terms of Service, lay out the rules for using Change.org.
First, here are few things we love to see you do on Change.org:
- Speak out on any issue you want to change. Tell your personal story when you start a petition – hearing how you are affected by a problem is powerful. Explain the problem, how it impacts you, your family, friends, or community. Then explain the solution and how others can be a part of it.
- Choose the decision maker who can give you what you want. A decision maker may be a particular person, group, or company, who has the direct ability to fix your problem. Work with them constructively both on and off our platform to come up with solutions.
- Mobilize your friends, family, and community by sharing your petition to raise awareness. Use the tools on the platform to show your cause to others through social media.
- Be open to disagreement and listen to other people’s opinions. You might disagree strongly with a petition’s content, but change happens when people with different backgrounds and perspectives can participate in a constructive conversation. As long as it complies with these Community Guidelines, all content, no matter how contentious, is allowed on our platform.
- Update your supporters with developments. Keep them posted on the highs and lows of your campaign and suggest ways they can take further action online and offline to stay involved. Your supporters are on a journey to victory with you, so take them along for the ride.
Now, here are the things we don’t like to see on Change.org, which may force us to remove content or restrict user accounts. Just so you know, “content” refers to the text and images in petitions, usernames, comments, and anything else you contribute to the platform.
- No violence – We don’t allow content that directly incites, glorifies, supports or encourages violence against anyone – this includes support for violent groups or individuals. No matter how passionately you feel about an issue, don’t use calls for violence to express your feelings or support the same behavior from others.
- No hate speech – On Change.org we consider hate speech to be any content that directly or indirectly attacks an entire class of people because of a characteristic they share. Don’t post content which attacks anyone based on their:
- ethnic origin,
- gender identity,
- national origin,
- sexual orientation,
- medical condition, or
- veteran status.
- We don’t allow content (including symbols and logos) from organizations recognized as hate groups or individuals linked to them on Change.org. We will also consider content which supports those groups, individuals or their aims to be in breach of the Community Guidelines.
- Don’t mislead others — We will remove content which is verifiably incorrect and which has the potential to cause harm to our users.
- Don’t impersonate others – Change.org is designed to share the stories of real people, supporting real issues. You need to use your email address to start or sign a petition and we don’t allow multiple accounts. Don’t sign petitions for other people, use anyone else’s email address, or impersonate people, including public figures or organizations.
- Don’t violate others’ privacy – Most content on Change.org is public, so respect the privacy of anyone else you mention. Don’t post private information, like private email addresses, identification documents, credit card numbers, home addresses, private telephone numbers, or photographs of people in private settings posted without their consent.
- Don’t bully – You can be influential and respectful at the same time. When working to persuade decision makers and other users, focus on people’s actions rather than their personal characteristics. While we expect debate and disagreement, we don’t tolerate abuse, stalking, threats, trolling, or any form of bullying.
- Don’t be unnecessarily graphic – Emotionally powerful content can make or break a campaign. Graphic content can be used to condemn behavior or show the seriousness of an issue, however give other users a warning about such content, where possible. Don’t post gratuitously violent, sexually explicit, or needlessly upsetting images and words.
- Don’t cause harm to children – Only parents and legal guardians have the right to post content about their children online, including images. Don’t use Change.org to post content that violates laws on child protection, child pornography, or sexual exploitation. We want to protect children, which is one of the reasons why you have to be 16 years or older to use Change.org.
- Don’t spam – Change.org is for issues of public interest. It’s OK to have a commercial interest in your petition’s success, but you shouldn’t use the platform to directly sell products or services, send bulk, unsolicited communications, or for any other spam-like behavior.
- Don’t include personal information such as your email address, telephone number or bank details in anything you post on Change.org
- Don’t break the law – You can use Change.org to raise awareness about laws you want to change, but this isn’t a platform for illegal activity. Make sure that your use of Change.org doesn’t violate applicable national law, including laws protecting the rights of other people. For example, make sure you have evidence for claims you make, as we may have to remove content that is established to be defamatory.
As a reminder, “content” refers to the text and images in petitions, usernames, comments, and anything else you contribute to the platform. If we discover that your content violates our Community Guidelines or Terms of Service, we reserve the right to remove it. If you post content that is a serious or repeated breach of the rules, we may suspend or close your account.
Please report problems!
If you come across content on Change.org indicating an emergency situation — for example, if a person is in danger — let us know, but first contact your local authorities immediately.
We have tens of thousands of petitions started on our platform each month — a number which continues to grow — and we rely on our users to report violations of the Community Guidelines.
Tell us if you see any of the ‘don’ts’ above. The best way to alert us to violations of these guidelines is to log in and click the “Report a policy violation” (below “Reasons for signing”) on petitions, or by writing to us through our Help Center. Once we receive these flags or complaints, our team will review content for policy violations.
Over 350 million people with a vast diversity of perspectives use Change.org in 196 countries. This diversity is a virtue, but it also means you’ll almost certainly find content with which you passionately disagree. We believe in the power of free speech on the Internet, which means we won’t censor content that doesn’t violate these Guidelines or our Terms of Service, even if it shocks or offends.
The most effective way to respond to content you find offensive is to start a counter-petition and mobilize others to see your perspective, rather than asking Change.org to remove content you don’t like. We see petitions on opposing sides of one issue all the time – it’s one of the many great things about being an open platform.
Thank you for being a part of Change.org, and supporting change in your community. We can’t wait to see what you’ll change next!