It shouldn’t come as a surprise: Sean Parker, co-founder of Project Agape is launching a limited edition version of his activist tool on Facebook, the last start-up he was affiliated with as founding president. The new tool is called, Causes for Facebook, and is seamlessly integrated into the new Facebook, which was launched with much fanfare at an event in San Francisco.
“The application allows users to start a cause, grow their cause through viral invitations, and raise money from their network to support any registered non-profit in the US,” Parker says. He says deep integration into the Facebook system will allow the Facebook-ers to click-and-create causes. There are about 10 non-profits that work with Causes out of the box, Parker says.
The steady growth of broadband connections has sent a growing number of people online to learn about and organize around social causes. The Pew Internet and American Life Project says that 52 million Americans use the internet to research policy issues, and 38 million have sent an email to government officials trying to change policies.
More than a few companies are launching new sites and services to harness social causes on the web. This week Project Agape competitor Change.org launched new features for political donations on its site. Change.org founder and CEO Ben Rattray told us that he was looking for a game-changing way to organize social and political action when he founded the company.
Already established communities like Facebook can hold the greatest power when it comes to managing social change. Facebook-ers have formed groups around presidential hopefuls like Barack Obama, and the MySpace pages of political candidates have a massive amount of “friends.”
“We want people to be able to leverage the online groups (and causes) and also act upon them” says Joe Green, cofounder of Project Agape, which is still in stealth mode and won’t fully launch for sometime. “We hope that the social causes come back into the real world.”
Facebook is opening its API to outside developers, in an attempt to build a Social OS. Companies like mobile startup Tiny Pictures are taking the launch event to offer applications built on the Facebook platform. As Liz noted in her previous post, “Facebook has become a primary relationship and identity broker for millions of people. ” The biggest attraction of the Palo Alto-based social network is its 23-million strong community.
Katie Fehrenbacher contributed to this report.