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White House Petition Web Site Slow to Respond to Petitions

The Obama administration shows a lack of response to online users on its online petition site, according to a recent item on Nextgov. The White House has failed to fulfill its promise to respond formally to any We the People petition, the item contends.

In the site’s first week the administration received more signatures than expected along with three dozen petitions. In response the White House raised the minimum number of signatures a petition needed before it would respond to the petition from 5,000 to 25,000 signatures.

White House New Media Director Macon Phillips said in a recent blog post the massive number of signatures is a good problem to have. A White House official told Nextgov that raising the minimum number of signatures is evidence the White House is committed to producing well-considered responses to the most popular petitions, rather than the routine responses to more petitions than it can handle.

The site was created as part of Obama’s transparency initiatives.

Georgetown University Professor Diana Owen studies social media in politics and told Nextgov the site is well designed and useful for aggregating issues people are interested in but that the site’s credibility can be damaged due to the White House’s lack of response.

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