Facebook Poll: “Should Obama Be Killed?”

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The big controversy on Facebook this morning was over the above poll which asked “should Obama be killed?” There were conflicting reports as to whether it was posted last night or earlier in the weekend, with many on Facebook questioning why it wasn’t taken down. Some have commented that people such as Glenn Beck have created the atmosphere which has led to such polls being posted while others noted that right wing polls have frequently been posted on Facebook, such as one questioning the existence of the Holocaust.

Many people have reported complaining about the poll to Facebook, along with reporting this to the Secret Service and the Cybercrimes division of the FBI. The poll was ultimately taken down around 1:00 E.S.T. The entire issue went down the memory hole on Facebook as comments linking to the poll were also removed. This morning other polls went up regarding people’s opinions of the poll and what should be done to the person who posted the original poll. These are also going down the memory hole with the one I posted on my Facebook page (along with subsequent discussion) also disappearing.

While much of the discussion of the issue has disappeared from Facebook with the removal of these polls, it has attracted attention in the blogosphere. The first mention I have seen of this was in this diary at Daily Kos.

Update: Greg Sargent has more:

The Secret Service is investigating the circumstances surrounding an eye-opening Facebook poll that asked whether Obama should be assassinated, a Secret Service spokesman confirms to us.

“We are taking the appropriate investigative steps,” the spokesman, Ed Donovan, told our reporter, Amanda Erickson. “We are aware of it.”

The poll asked: “Should Obama be killed?” It offered four choices: No, Maybe, Yes, and Yes if he cuts my health care.

The poll, of course, is only the latest example of the sort of viral incitement to violence that flares up when the sparks of anti-Obama hatred are fed oxygen by the bellows of the Internets. While anyone can put up such a poll, this kind of stuff is a sign of the moment — as David Kurtz put it, it’s akin to graffiti on the virtual wall of our times.

According to a source, the Secret Service has contacted Facebook and asked them to take the poll down. And, indeed, it’s already down.

Update II: The mainstream media is now covering the story.

Update III: A poll regarding how Facebook should respond to this problem is now back up. I had linked to it earlier and the link vanished, but has now returned.

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5 Comments

  1. 1
    Fe says:

    Ron:

    A pinch of precaution goes a long way. Unfortunately, this is not the end of this.

    Sometimes the best thing is to let the infection rise like pus and get secreted out by the body. These calls for the assassination of the President feels alot like de-toxification. Its the fear of the other and of change–the secret toxins running out of the American body politic.

    Facebook has taken the poll down and suspended the polling app on the site. The Secret Service called to thank the blogger who took the screen shot and alerted them to this.

    This won’t stop me from praying every minute for the POTUS’s safety. I’m sure glad our Secret Service are doing their job.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    I’m glad they took down the poll (while it should have been done much sooner). It is unfortunate that much of the discussion it generated also went down since if such attitudes are present it is better that they be seen and responded to as opposed to remaining under the surface.

  3. 3
    Patricia Shannon says:

    I think the person who put it up should be sterilized, so they don’t pass on their defective genes.

  4. 4
    Patricia Shannon says:

    And thank you for informing us about this.

  5. 5
    Chris R says:

    The guy who made that poll is a tool and should be stored with all the other tools.

    Can’t we just go back to taking polls on the Presidents favorite breakfast cereal or something?

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