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Deportation Stopped, Thanks to the Internet

Astrid Silva and her dad. Photo via Change.org

How much power is there in social media? Well if Change.org is any example, a lot.

A Los Angeles student has used Facebook and Change.org to stop the deportation of her friend’s father, a man in Nevada she never even met. Jamie Alegra started a campaign against the deportation of Cesar Carlos Silva and garnered 594 online signatures.

Change.org said Alegra did it by bringing her laptop to school and collecting the signatures from fellow students and school faculty. The petition was called “An activist’s father needs your help. Don’t let ICE tear Astrid Silva’s family apart,” and succeeded in keeping Silva in the country.

Change.org is making a name for itself with more than 400,000 new members per month. Presently it’s got a petition asking Bank of America to stop it’s new $5-to-use-your-ATM-card fee that has 134,000 backers.

The causes range from criminal matters, such as murder and rape cases, to social movements, like this one pressuring the National Hockey League to fine a Philadelphia Flyers player for using a homophobic slur. (Good luck with that one, however, because the Flyer used it against the former New York Ranger Sean Avery, the most hated man in the league, and one who regularly trash-talks other people).

Signatures for petitions can normally be collected with paper and pencils. Change.org is providing a centralized site. And the more commonplace it becomes to credit Facebook for things like finding kidnapped children and helping police arrest stupid criminals, the less the story is about Facebook, the brand. Nevertheless, it speaks to the power of Facebook. It has the market share to be the equivalent of the world’s phone book.

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