Change.org‘s goal is to provide a medium to make the world a better place. They hold clear terms of service regarding defamation and law. However, a petition has recently surfaced calling to “Remove White Supremacist Content From YouTube”, and has been given a pass. As we previously discussed on PewNews, while on the surface this seems like a good cause, the title is simply a disguise for the real purpose of the petition: BAN PewDiePie from YouTube.
After recent news, the petition creator has added sources to all of the claims. However, as you can tell by clicking the sources, many of them don’t actually support the claims. For example, one of the claims listed in the petition reads:
He made a clip of a man dressed as Jesus holding a sign stating ‘Hitler did absolutely nothing wrong’
Felix has never done this and no evidence has ever been obtained to support this claim. The “source” provided was a link to a Wall Street Journal article, which does not include any valid evidence.
This petition does more than just lie, it also violates Federal Law established by United States Supreme Court precedent. The concurring decision of the Supreme Court in the case New York Times co. V. Sullivan (1964) reads:
The Court today announces a constitutional standard which prohibits a public official from recovering damages for a defamatory falsehood relating to his official conduct unless he proves that the statement was made with “actual malice” — that is, with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.SCOTUS Justice Goldberg (1964)
They key point here is reckless disregard of whether it was false or not. The petition displays this form of actual malice as it tries to base a defamatory argument using lies and fallacies as evidence. Furthermore, at the time of upload the petition included no evidence (or false evidence). This information could easily classify the petition as illegal defamation. I’m not supposed to give my own personal opinion, but that’s pretty bad…
Additionally, the petition is also in great violation of Change.org’s Terms of Service:
If we are put on notice that your campaign or content violates the law or the rights of others (for example, if it is established that it is defamatory or violates privacy, intellectual property or publicity rights or others, or is funding an illegal activity), if we discover that your campaign or content violates our Community Guidelines, or if we believe your campaign or content is inappropriate or objectionable, we may remove it from our platforms or we may make edits to bring your content into compliance.Change.org Terms of Service
As of April 11 2019, change.org has not removed the petition despite it being in Violation of United States Law and their own Terms of Service. However, Change.org has been quick to remove petitions created in order to remove the illegal petition (even though those petitions did agree with their Terms of Service).