Terms of Participation Archive

We the People Terms of Participation as of September 22, 2011

We invite you to participate in the We the People platform. You may use this platform on the White House website to create and sign petitions that call for the federal government to take action on a range of issues. For each topic included in We the People, you can petition the Administration to address a problem, support or oppose a proposal, or otherwise change or continue federal government policy or actions. As explained below, if a petition meets the signature goal within the designated period, the White House will respond to that petition in a timely fashion.

By participating in We the People, you acknowledge that you have read, understood, and agree to be bound by these Terms of Participation and to comply with all applicable laws and regulations.

We the People expands the options for contacting the White House and does not displace current official methods of communication, such as mailing or emailing the White House. If you are not willing to agree to We the People’s Terms of Participation, but want to send a message, petition, or other form of communication to the White House, you may do so through the White House Office of Correspondence, which maintains a contact form and information about communicating with the White House at www.whitehouse.gov/contact.

In order to participate in We the People, you must create a WhiteHouse.gov User Account. You are required to use a valid email address when registering your account. Only one account per individual is allowed. You must be 13 or older in order to create an account and participate in We the People. Creating and signing We the People petitions must be done by individuals interacting directly with WhiteHouse.gov and not through a third party website or service. You can learn more about WhiteHouse.gov User Accounts on our Privacy Policy page.

The White House may disable user accounts and remove petitions created or signed by user accounts that it has reasonable belief do not satisfy the above rules. The White House may also block access from IP addresses that it has reasonable belief are using automated systems or bulk processes to create multiple user accounts or petition signatures.

You agree that the White House can send you email updates related to We the People. This includes, but is not limited to, system-generated emails used to verify your email address, updates on the progress of a petition you created or signed, and official responses to that petition. In addition to emails related to We the People, you can also choose to receive additional email updates about other topics. You can always unsubscribe from future White House email by clicking on the “unsubscribe” link at the bottom of any WhiteHouse.gov email. Learn more about email subscriptions and updates.

You agree to only create petitions consistent with the limited purpose of the We the People platform, which is to allow individuals to petition the Administration to take action on a range of issues — to address a problem, support or oppose a proposal, or otherwise change or continue federal government policy or actions. To focus discussion, the platform is limited to a discrete set of topics, which may be adjusted over time.

You agree not to create petitions that fall outside this limited purpose—for example, petitions that advertise or call for the endorsement or purchase of commercial goods or services, petitions that expressly urge the support or opposition of candidates for elected office, petitions that do not address the current or potential actions or policies of the federal government, or petitions that address a topic not included in We the People at the time the petition was created.

You also agree not to post threats of unlawful violence or harm to any individual or group; obscene, vulgar, or lewd material; defamatory or fraudulent statements; terms commonly understood to constitute profanity or abusive or degrading slurs or epithets; information invading an individual’s privacy; and information that if published would violate criminal law or give rise to civil liability. These categories of material are inconsistent with the limited purpose of We the People and the larger purpose and function of the White House’s website.

Petitions that the moderator determines violate these Terms of Participation will be removed consistent with the We the People Moderation Policy; petitioners will be able to seek reconsideration of the removal. As part of the moderation system for We the People, participants will be able to flag a petition if they believe it violates these Terms. You agree to flag only those petitions you believe violate these Terms. You agree not to flag petitions for any other reasons, including your disagreement with the viewpoint reflected in a petition.

The White House will respond to petitions submitted through We the People that comply with these Terms of Participation and reach the second signature threshold listed below. Petitions on We the People must meet the first signature threshold in order to be publicly searchable on WhiteHouse.gov. Petitions that do not meet these signature thresholds will be removed from the site after the time limit has expired. The White House may elect to respond to petitions at any time, including those that have not crossed the first or second threshold.

To avoid the appearance of improper influence, the White House may decline to address certain procurement, law enforcement, adjudicatory, or similar matters properly within the jurisdiction of federal departments or agencies, federal courts, or state and local government in its response to a petition.

The White House reserves the right to change the time limits and signature thresholds and apply them to petitions created after the change has been published to this “Current thresholds” section:

AS OF OCTOBER 3, 2011:

To cross the first threshold and be searchable within WhiteHouse.gov, a petition must reach 150 signatures within 30 days.

To cross the second threshold and require a response, a petition must reach 25,000 signatures within 30 days.