Not content with more conventional ways of expressing disapproval, an unidentified Facebook user recently posted a poll asking whether President Obama should be assassinated. The poll was outrageous, and Facebook forced its removal even before the Secret Service called. …
The inflammatory poll, created over the weekend with an application available to any Facebook user, offered four possible answers to the question "Should Obama be killed?": yes, maybe, "if he cuts my healthcare" and no.
Originally published on the application developers Facebook page, it spread as voters notified their networks of friends about it. Users also could complain about the poll through links provided by Facebook and the developer, a start-up called Advanced Alien Technology. A Facebook spokesman said the company received the first objection early Monday, and the poll came down shortly thereafter.
The poll is especially disturbing in light of the sharp increase in reported threats to the president's life. A new book estimates that Obama receives 30 a day, a 400 percent increase over President George W. Bush. Heated rhetoric is a staple of political discourse, but death threats — whether real or insinuated — are not. … (I)t's appropriate for Facebook to give users the tools to police themselves. It's also incumbent on the company to make sure application developers do the same, and Facebook appears to have done that.