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Secret Service probing Facebook poll on Obama

By The Associated Press,
First Amendment Center Online staff
09.29.09

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Secret Service is investigating an online survey that asked whether people thought President Barack Obama should be assassinated, officials said yesterday.

The poll, posted Sept. 26 on Facebook, was taken off the popular social-networking site quickly after company officials were alerted to its existence. But, as with any threat against the president, Secret Service agents are taking no chances. Threatening a president's life is a crime.

"We are aware of it and we will take the appropriate investigative steps," said Darrin Blackford, a Secret Service spokesman. "We take these things seriously."

The Los Angeles Times reported the Secret Service was investigating who posted the poll and why.

The poll asked respondents, "Should Obama be killed?" The choices: "No, Maybe, Yes," and "Yes if he cuts my health care."

The question was not created by Facebook, but by an independent person using an add-on application that has been suspended from the site.

"The third-party application that enabled an individual user to create the offensive poll was brought to our attention this morning," said Barry Schnitt, Facebook's spokesman for policy.

Because the application was disabled, the responses to the nonscientific polls are not available.

The Los Angeles Times said 730 people responded to the poll, but that Schnitt said he did not know who they were.

"At this time, we don't know," the Times quoted Schnitt as saying. "But we assume the developer has some or all of this information."

Schnitt added: "We're working with the U.S. Secret Service, but they'll need to provide any details of their investigation."


Update
Secret Service: Facebook poll no threat to Obama
Investigators say unidentified juvenile apparently just made 'a mistake.' 10.01.09

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