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Facebook Poll Asking Whether Obama Should Be Killed Draws Fire

Facebook is no stranger to the debate over freedom of speech. As the networking site grows, and as its increasing number of users make their opinhions known, the site has had to draw its own boundaries between acceptable self-expression and open hostility. The most recent controversy, though, has worried even the Secret Service.

Using a third party application that allows users to create and post public polls, a Facebook member asked members "Should Obama Be Killed?" The question was incendiary enough to warrant the attention of the Secret Service, which has confirmed its concern over the survey.

"We are aware of it and will take the appropriate investigative steps," Darrin Blackford of the Secret Service told the Associated Press. "We take these things very seriously."

Facebook, for its part, removed the poll upon learning about it, but not before at least 730 people answered it, responding with either "yes," "maybe," "if he cuts my healthcare," or "no." Facebook Director of Policy Communications Barry Schnitt confirmed that the poll will remain suspended until the developer who created the application "institutes better procedures to monitor their user-generated content." Both Schnitt and Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan confirmed that Facebook and the Secret Service are working together to further investigate the case.

Regardless of your spot on the political spectrum, any discourse that intimates violence against any individual, let alone against the President, has no place on a public forum -- especially one so popular and influential as Facebook. The larger question is not whether or not Facebook should act in situations like these, but whether or not it can. User-controlled applications continue to grow exponentially -- apparently more quickly than the monitoring systems meant to govern them. Facebook certainly needs to take a more active role in policing the site, and, in so doing, stay a step ahead of hateful speech. Whether or not it can, though, is less certain. [From: Mashable and CBS News]

Tags: assassination, barack obama, BarackObama, facebook, law, president, secret service, SecretService, social networking, SocialNetworking, top



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