In the fall of 2011, the We the People website
was launched by the White House as an online forum that allowed citizens to create digital petitions for the U.S. government to consider taking action on regarding a particular issue. From the start, a petition needed to acquire a minimum of 5,000 signatures in order to be reviewed by President Barack Obama’s administration. Within 30 days of launching, the minimum signature requirement was raised to 25,000 and at that time Macon Phillips, the White House Director of New Media, called it a “good problem to have” after quoting the figures for how quickly the site had grown in its first week alone.
According to the White House blog, the site saw an even more tremendous spike in overall use and signatures generated in the last two months of 2012 than ever before in the site’s short history. In response to the 73,000 petitions created, 4.9 million signatures collected, and approximately 2.4 million new users in two months, the signature threshold for a response from the White House now stands at 100,000 signatures in 30 days
. To date, 162 petitions have received a proper response from the Obama administration since the online petition-generating website launched.
Additionally, the White House also released the source code for the site and invited the people to help strengthen it. Macon Phillips’ blog post expressed interest in potentially integrating the White House official online petition site with other online petition applications.
Below you’ll find a visual overview of the amount of engagement the White House has had from citizens looking to magnify their voices by creating a petition on the We the People site.