‘Slacktivism’ groups claim credit for Apple supplier audits over a month after Apple originally announced its plans

“Two organizations that host online petition drives are claiming credit for Apple’s partnership with the Fair Labor Association to monitor worker conditions in overseas suppliers’ factories, over a month after the company originally announced its plans,” Daniel Eran Dilger reports for AppleInsider.

“The two websites, Change.org and SumOfUs.org, issued press releases this morning suggesting that petitions they hosted were a motivating force behind Apple’s supplier investigation, despite the fact that both publicity efforts occurred after Apple outlined its latest efforts in policing its supplier accountability policy,” Dilger reports. “Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, the executive director of SumOfUs.org, stated in a press release that additional details Apple had just released about its partnership with the FLA ‘came just a few days after consumer advocacy groups,’ including her own and Change.org, collectively ‘delivered over a quarter of a million petition signatures calling on Apple to address abysmal working conditions in its supply chain in time to produce an ethical iPhone 5.'”

Dilger reports, “Participants signing the petitions didn’t actually do anything apart from supplying one of the two websites with their name and contact information, a growing movement known as ‘slacktivism,’ which is defined as participating in ‘feel-good’ measures, in support of an issue or social cause, that have little or no practical effect other than to make the person doing it feel satisfaction.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Fair Labor Association begins inspections of Foxconn at Apple’s request – February 13, 2012
Apple joins Fair Labor Association – January 13, 2012


  1. So, Change.org and SumOfUs.org – I will definitely avoid dealing with them in future.

    If they’re willing to lie and deceive in cases like this, what do you think they’ll do with donations? How much integrity do you think their other pronouncements have?

    “Slackivism” is a great label for this kind of thing – “activism theater” is another. (Plenty of activism theater went on with the delivery of those petitions to Apple stores.)

  2. Actually, most of media, including Wired, ZDNet participate in this tabloidish campaign, started by NYT article.

    They all now run articles how Apple “answered to heat”, while FLA audits were planned long before NYT’s article. Now only concrete schedule was signed.

  3. These online petitions are a joke. No one takes them seriously. It’s not like there is some focused, motivated group behind the petition — it’s just some folks who had a few minutes to kill, so they clicked a link and autofilled their info.

  4. This issue has brought out the worst in liberal cause organizations. This is where ‘liberal loons’ get a well deserved bad reputation. The result is damage to their reputation regarding GOOD causes.

    Change.org has had some excellent and successful causes for years. Then they go all ga-ga over an issue they NEVER researched that does NOT deserve their attention. Major OOPS moment. 😳

    IOW: Of course folks! There are nut jobs at both of the extremist ends of the 1 dimensional political spectrum. Dumbass tards have freedom of speech too.

  5. One American congressman (can’t remember which) said it quite well. When he was asked how to the lawmakers take petitions from their constituents when considering how to vote, he said the following. Essentially, the amount of attention a politician will devote to an issue raised by the constituents will be directly proportional to the amount of effort the constituent(s) put into bringing the issue to his attention. This makes online petitions little more than a method to get a general idea what some self-selected statistical sample thinks about certain issue. They certainly don’t tell how passionate they are about it (passionate enough to click ‘Submit!’ on a webpage doesn’t say anything). Next level of effort is signing and mailing pre-printed cards. The step above that is actually writing a personal, one-off letter (handwritten is better than typed) and sending it in, and so on. The most attention will be received when a person is passionate enough about their cause to travel to Washington, D.C., (or Albany, NY, or Sacramento, CA… you get the idea), schedule an appointment and meet with their elected representative face-to-face.

    Online petitions are of extremely limited value, and web operators that provide such service know this very well, I’m sure. Obviously, nobody will reject positive publicity, so there’s no reason why they should.

  6. Regarding online petitions:
    Choose them well.

    Every single petition I have signed online over these past many years has resulting in POSITIVE CHANGE. They work. I get verification of receipt of these petitions from my elected officials. I get letters back from them in response. They change their minds.

    An wonderful example is the Stop SOPA/PIPA cause. It stopped both of these abusive Corporate Oligarchy bills dead in their tracks. My participation worked, as made evident by the most recent letter I received from one of my Senators, Kirsten Gillibrand, who remains one of the few Senators still sponsoring the SOPA/PIPA bills. Everyone efforts got even HER to back down. These horror bills are back in committee, which means they aren’t dead. But they’re going to think twice before perpetrating them again in public.

    I choose the petitions I sign very carefully and make certain the causes they support are critical, versus frivolous or ignorant. Obviously Change.org and SumOfUs.org fell into the deep end regarding Apple and drowned their reputations. I didn’t sign their ignorant bullshit and I won’t be bothering with either of them in the future.

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