By David Worthington | Monday, September 28, 2009 at 7:02 pm
Facebook polls typically ask questions as mundane as “what’s your favorite breakfast cereal?” But over the weekend, a poll asking whether U.S. President Barack Obama should “be killed” was anything but mundane, and drew the attention of the Secret Service.
The poll gave respondents four options: Yes, Yes if he cuts my health care, Maybe, and No. It was created by an unknown user of a third party polling application that runs on Facebook. The Secret Service became aware of the application, and is investigating.
For its part, Facebook suspended the offending application after the incident was brought to its attention this morning, said director of policy communications Barry Schnitt. He added that it has asked the developer to institute better control procedures to monitor user-generated content.
This poll would be less worrisome if it did not happen amid a climate of threats against the President. Last month, the Secret Service acknowledged that threats had increased by 400 percent since Mr. Obama’s inauguration. There have also been incidents of conservative religious figures in the United States openly wishing for his death.
The United States has a history of political violence, and even a casual suggestion might be enough to set off an unstable individual. The poll was wildly irresponsible. I would only hope that those responsible will be held accountable.