10 Internet Petitions That Helped The Little Guy Beat The System

Shopping for presents, finding a great restaurant, binge-watching TV shows -- in many ways, the Internet has made life simpler with just a few clicks. Fortunately, advocating for good is a little less complicated now, too, and is in part to thank.

Since 2007, the free online petition tool has helped transform the world of viral activism. Enabling its more than 75 million global users to mobilize roughly 900,000 petitions advocating for progress, has been used time and time again to make this planet a better place to live.

Here are 10 success stories, proving that yes -- your signature can make a difference.

1. A call to end female genital mutilation pushed the Obama administration to take action against the human rights abuse.
smiling africa girls
More than 220,000 supporters.

"Because of your voice, the U.S. has acted. At a summit on FGM and child marriage in London, the Obama administration announced it would conduct a major study into FGM to establish how many women are living with the consequences of FGM in the United States and how many girls are at risk." Read more.

2. After massive outcry, a Japanese politician apologized for shouting sexist remarks at a fellow assembly member.
akihiro suzuki
More than 91,000 supporters.

"Akihiro Suzuki, an assemblyman from the ruling LDP party, admitted to heckling fellow assembly member Ayaka Shiomura, who is from the minority Your Party, during her speech urging increased public support for pregnant Japanese women. Suzuki, who initially denied any involvement and condemned the harassment in an interview, publicly apologized to Shiomura. Read more from CNN.

3. A Tiger Cub den leader removed by the Boy Scouts of America for being gay attracted support from around the country.
jennifer tyrrell
More than 350,000 supporters.

"I received notice that my membership had been revoked, based on my sexual orientation, citing that because I'm gay, I did 'not meet the high standards of membership that the BSA seeks.'" Read more.

4. The band Barenaked Ladies canceled a performance at SeaWorld amid protests about animal rights abuses.
barenaked ladies
More than 11,700 supporters.

"I couldn't have imagined that after only a few days it would gather so much momentum; however, right from the beginning I truly believed we could achieve victory. I believed the Barenaked Ladies would make the right decision and realize not only are they better than a place like Seaworld but their fans believed in them and would support them 100% in deciding not to support marine mammal captivity." Read more.

5. Laxmi, a woman who had acid thrown on her face when she was 15 years old, pressured the Indian government to regulate and control the sale of acid.
laxmi india
More than 29,000 supporters.

"Accompanied with two other acid attack survivors, I delivered my petition to the Home Minister on 15th July. A day later the government announced that they would regulate the sale of acid in the open market. If the proposed guidelines are implemented, shopkeepers will need a valid license to sell acid, and the buyer should produce a valid identity card and address proof." Read more.

6. Brits demanded more women and figures representing diversity on their currency.
british banknotes
More than 36,000 supporters.

"We won! The Bank of England announced that, in response to our campaign, Jane Austen will appear on the new ten pound note from 2017. The Bank also announced that it will be instigating a review of the process by which they choose historical figures for our banknotes, with a commitment to ensuring the diversity of society is represented." Read more.

7. An architect and mother of two fought for (and won) more affordable textbooks in Spanish schools.
spanish students
More than 300,000 supporters.

"It has been a long road: 16 months since that August 2012 night, when, pushed by anger I dared to create this request. 300,000 signatures, various meetings with delegates, a non-legal proposition and dozens of interviews later, we've done it." -- according to a HuffPost translation.
Read more.

8. After being wrongly convicted of murder, Ryan Ferguson's supporters helped overturn a 40-year prison sentence.
ryan ferguson trial
More than 267,000 supporters.

"There was never any evidence that pointed to Ryan’s guilt. When I started my petition, I had no idea that 250,000 people would sign! In early November 2013, Ryan’s conviction was overturned and on November 12, the state announced that they would not retry him!" Read more.

9. Online users persuaded LinkedIn to implement "blocking" function to prevent stalking.
More than 9,000 supporters.

"I am so grateful for everyone's help and support throughout this entire process. It has taken a lot of patience and a lot of work but: WE DID IT! We should all be proud of ourselves for this fantastic feat." Read more.

10. A Kansas town rethought its decision and allowed Spencer Collins, 9, to run a free "take a book, leave a book" library from his yard.
spencer collins lib
More than 30 supporters.

"The Leawood City Council unanimously approved a temporary moratorium Monday night that exempts the little lending libraries from a city ordinance that prohibits structures in front yards. The moratorium, effective Tuesday, will last until Oct. 20." Read more.



  • Susie, Paws & Effect
    <a href="" target="_hplink">Susie</a> was discovered covered in burns, and
    Susie was discovered covered in burns, and maggots, in a park in 2009. After being nursed back to health -- and helping her new owner overcome depression brought on by a dog attack that left her unable to have children -- Susie inspired a North Carolina law imposing tougher penalties on animal abusers.
  • Xena the Warrior Puppy, Sheltie Rescue of Utah
    <a href="" target="_blank">Xena the Warrior Puppy</a> was rescued from horr
    Xena the Warrior Puppy was rescued from horrible abuse, weighing just a few pounds when she was brought to a Georgia animal shelter in 2012. She's now part of a family that includes Jonny, a boy with autism -- whose mother says that Xena's friendship has brought Jonny out of his shell. “He is non-stop chatter now!” Jonny’s mother, Linda Hickey, told last year. “He is the happiest child that I’ve ever seen him be in eight years.” The pair now advocate for animal welfare and autism awareness, in addition to snuggling in the car.
  • Xxon, Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation
    This is <a href="" target="_hplink">Xxon</a>, a guide dog for retired Air F
    This is Xxon, a guide dog for retired Air Force staff sergeant Michael Malarsie, who was blinded in an explosion in Afghanistan -- and who credits Xxon with helping him become the Air Force's first blind active duty airman.
  • Kai, Project Paws Alive
    <a href="" target="_blank">Kai</a> is a fire detection dog with the San An
    Kai is a fire detection dog with the San Antonio Fire Department. Picked up off the streets by animal control officers after being abandoned by her owners, this pup escaped euthanasia when a humane society representative noticed her drive and energy, while playing at the shelter. She's worked more than 200 investigations, and also helps educate kids on fire safety. "I am proud that Kai is being recognized nationally and it is all due to the incredible support given by San Antonio. The success of Kai is a direct result of many people who recognized how special she was from her time spent in the shelter to now," Kai's owner and handler Justin Davis told My San Antonio. "It is rewarding that Kai is being recognized for being a special dog. Kai is the perfect example of what a dog can do when put into the right situation."
  • Bretagne, Penn Vet Working Dog Center
    <a href="" target="_blank">Bretagne</a> is a search and rescue dog whose fi
    Bretagne is a search and rescue dog whose first mission was looking for 9/11 survivors at the World Trade Center towers. Fourteen years old, and retired since 2008, Bretagne now spends her days helping kids learn to read -- she's a friendly, non-judgmental audience for those who want to improve their skills -- and waiting to be called back into action. "She still thinks you can go (on search and rescue missions)," her owner, Denise Corliss, told the website "She doesn't quite completely understand or at least accept the fact that she's retired."
  • JJ Krawczyk, Freedom Service Dogs
    <a href="" target="_blank">JJ Krawczyk</a> has been called a <a href="http:
    JJ Krawczyk has been called a guardian angel, for helping a young girl with a rare disorder live a full life. JJ alerts KK's parents when her charge is having a dangerous allergic reaction -- the reaction can be to nearly anything; doctors told CBS News that going from air conditioning to outside can sometimes trigger anaphylaxis -- and she's so good at her job that surgeons invited her to participate in an operation last year.
  • Kota, K9s4COPs
    <a href="" target="_blank">Kota</a> is a Virginia police dog who got seriou
    Kota is a Virginia police dog who got seriously injured after falling through a ceiling while pursuing home invasion suspects -- and showed exceptional dedication, and loyalty, in the aftermath, dragging himself to his handler to help complete the arrest. He's undergoing physical therapy now, after major surgery -- and riding around in parades.
  • Chaney, America's VetDogs
    <a href="" target="_blank">Chaney</a> is a former explosive detection dog w
    Chaney is a former explosive detection dog who retired from the Marines in 2013, after service multiple tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq. Chaney's handler Matt Hatala adopted the dog about a year ago; the pair now work together on a nonprofit that Hatala started, that trains dogs to work with veterans and kids with autism.