New Black Panther Party on Obama Site - Approved by Campaign?
Barack Obama’s campaign web site has a section where supporters can register and form groups (like a mini-MySpace), and Fox News reported yesterday on a group started by the New Black Panther Party, which of course embarrassed the Obama campaign into removing it. They issued a statement (typically blaming Fox News for pointing it out) that says they have no control over the groups that are formed:
my.barackobama.com has been at the core of our bottom-up organizing strategy. The tools available have been put to work by a community of supporters that is bigger and more powerful than anything presidential politics has ever seen.
Evidently, Fox News didn’t think it was a big deal that hundreds of thousands of ordinary Americans are participating in the democratic process creating groups and local events in communities all across the country.
But they did think it was a big deal that one random person on the Internet, without the knowledge of the Obama campaign, posted a profile in the system with the image of the New Black Panther Party on it.
When we were alerted of the existence of this page, we pulled it down. Yet even after we pulled the page, Fox News continues to disingenuously and prominently feature this “story” on their homepage.
OK, fair enough. That’s actually why I didn’t make a big deal of this, because I know from first-hand experience how easy it is for jokers to misuse these kinds of “social networking” systems.
But now BKGodfrey at Yellow Limes has a twist that makes it more interesting.
He registered and started a group at my.barackobama.com, and at the end of the process he received this message: “This group will be published online once it is approved by a site administrator.”
The statement above claims that the New Black Pather Party group was established “without the knowledge of the Obama campaign.” So who is approving those groups, if not the Obama campaign?
It’s possible that this moderation feature was only recently implemented, but if the people running my.barackobama.com know what they’re doing, they would never allow unmoderated groups to be formed on a campaign web site; the potential for abuse is enormous, as John F. Kerry discovered in the last presidential election, when pranksters created hundreds of pages at his site. So I doubt this is a recent addition.
More details at Yellow Limes.