×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

White House Petition Site Broken Since Inauguration Weekend

A petition to remove presidential advisor and former Breitbart CEO Steve Bannon from the National Security Council is currently gaining steam online, and is being retweeted by hundreds of Twitter users. However, you’d never know that this is a popular demand from looking at the petition itself: It’s been signed by only one person, according to the White House’s We the People petition website.

We the People aims to give ordinary citizens a forum to air their grievances by filing petitions, but the site has been partially inoperable ever since the inauguration weekend, Variety has found. Most notable, petitions filed after 1/22 don’t display any new signatures at all beyond the signature of the initial petitioner. Petitions filed on or before that date at times don’t seem to display new signatures for days.

The White House didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment. However, when BuzzFeed asked the White House earlier this week about irregular signature counts on the site, a spokesperson replied that “the signatures are being captured. Because of high volume they’re having to change how they’re being captured.”

We the People was created in 2011 by the Obama administration as a direct feedback channel for citizens. Anyone can take to the site to file a petition, and any petition reaching 100,000 signatures within 30 day is promised to receive an official response from the White House.

The site has seen an uptick in activity ever since Donald Trump’s inauguration last month. The most popular petition at the moment is one demanding that President Trump releases his tax returns. That petition reached 443,429 signatures Monday afternoon of this week, and grew to 476,151 signatures by Wednesday. 48 hours later, it was still stuck at 476,329 signatures.

Another petition demanding that Trump divests from his financial assets has also been stuck at around 150,000 signatures for two days after gaining significant support earlier this week.

It’s worth noting that the signature counter issues don’t necessarily mean that signatures aren’t in fact counted by the system. And former Obama administration digital strategist Macon Phillips told Buzzfeed that he didn’t think these issues were signs of active interference, but instead due to a technical issue.

We the People is probably best known for its less-than-serious petitions, like the one that forced President Obama to declare in 2013 that the U.S. government wouldn’t be building a death star any time soon. Still, the site has gotten a lot of internet users to participate in the democratic process. During its first two years alone, We the People saw more than 5 million users participating in more than 141,000 petitions.

Regardless of the reasons for the current issues, the fact that the site doesn’t work adds to an overall impression of a rocky transition, which extends to the new administration’s digital properties. Two weeks in, a number of links on the White House website still resolve in error messages, and the White House comment hotline remains inactive, redirecting users to a non-existent Facebook Messenger account instead.

More Digital

  • Apple-TV-subscription-streaming-event

    Apple TV 'Show Time' Event: How to Watch Live-Stream

    Monday is the coming-out party for Apple’s Hollywood ambitions: After years of trademark secrecy about its plans to stream into video entertainment, the tech giant is set to pull back the curtain at a media event. The live program kicks off at 10 a.m. PT / 1 p.m. ET, on Monday, March 25, from the [...]

  • Google Stadia is a Net Neutrality

    Google Stadia is a Net Neutrality Nightmare

    At the Game Developers Conference (GDC) this year, Google announced that it has taken up the long and ever-lengthening dream of the video game streaming service. Meant to replace the hefty, pricey, altogether confounding experience of buying and using various gaming hardware, Google Stadia will run video games on Google’s own hardware in a server [...]

  • crunchyroll logo

    Crunchyroll Raises Subscription Price to $7.99

    AT&T-owned anime subscription video service Crunchyroll is raising its monthly subscription price from $6.95 to $7.99 a month, it announced in an email to members Friday. It’s the service’s first price increase ever, according to a spokesperson. The new pricing will go into effect on May 1 for new subscribers, while existing members will see [...]

  • StyleHaul

    StyleHaul Shuts Down U.S. Operations, Lays Off About 65 Employees

    The axe is falling on StyleHaul: The fashion, beauty and lifestyle digital media and marketing company owned by RTL Group is shuttering U.S. operations, resulting the layoff of around 65 employees. StyleHaul offices in L.A., with about 55 employees, and in New York City, with around 10 staffers, are closing. RTL said StyleHaul’s U.K. operations, [...]

  • Bandsintown Platform Acquires Hypebot, MusicThinkTank

    Bandsintown Platform Acquires Hypebot, MusicThinkTank

    Bandsintown, a leading platform for letting music fans know about upcoming concerts by their favorite artists, has acquired Hypebot, a news site publishing stories about the music industry and technology, and its sister site MusicThinkTank. “I’m proud to share that Hypebot and MusicThinkTank have been acquired by Bandsintown,” wrote Bruce Houghton, the founder of the [...]

  • Vertigo Games Believes ‘Location-Based Virtual Reality’

    Vertigo Games Believes ‘Location-Based Virtual Reality’ Is Future of VR

    As virtual reality becomes more and more available, many developers are looking for new frontiers to expand the experiences offered by the tech. For Netherlands-based Vertigo Games, that next frontier is what they call “location-based virtual reality.” It’s essentially high-quality VR experiences where players aren’t tethered to a PC or even to the confines of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content