Canadian Politician Removed From Provincial Assembly For Threats She Didn't Make On Facebook Group She Didn't Join

from the wut? dept

We've heard stories in the past about people being blamed for the comments of others on Facebook groups, such as an attempt to hold parents responsible for the groups their children join. While my position is that such blaming is reactionary and silly, there is at least a modicum of a tangential relationship between the parties. So what should the response be if such a relationship doesn't exist? What if someone is added to a group without their knowledge and members of that group advocate violence? What should be done then?

Well, if you're a member of the Newfoundland House of Assembly in Canada, apparently you are removed from the house of assembly proceedings entirely. Such was the case with Gerry Rogers.

Earlier Tuesday, Justice Minister Darin King said Rogers was a member of the Facebook group Kathy Dunderdale must GO!!! in which users had posted comments containing death threats against the premier.
"What kind of message is that sending to the people of the province, to our children in the province, when we talk about bullying and harassment and intimidation?" said King.
Bullying? Well, the definition of the verb is "to treat abusively; to affect by means of force or coercion." Call me crazy, but it seems to me that forcing someone out of the duties of their elected office as a means for coercing them to apologize for something she had absolutely nothing to do with sort of meets the criteria, doesn't it? That's exactly what happened here, as Rogers aptly contends.
"I did not join this Facebook group," Rogers told reporters during the recess. Rogers said that she thinks that the government does not understand how Facebook groups work. "I was added to this group without my knowledge, without permission, and by somebody that I do not know," said Rogers.
Premier Kathy Dunderdale, against whom the threats were made, responded specifically to that point, insisting that the government did indeed understand how Facebook groups operate, but it's up to each member of government to monitor all the comments on all the groups they belong to, whether they had chosen to belong to them or not. She also said:
"I'm not going to be bullied or intimidated into doing something that I don't think is in the best interests of the people in this province," said Dunderdale.
No, Madame Premier, that privilege appears to be reserved for Gerry Rogers, and the people she represents, I might add, unless your government wants to rethink its concepts over whether to blame people for the actions of others.



Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Apr 18th, 2013 @ 4:06am

    So...did someone hack her Facebook account and add her to the group without her knowledge? The original article doesn't say. To join a Facebook group, you have to Like it. Does Facebook allow you to just add random people to groups without asking them?
    Also, how in a democratic society, can an elected official be removed from office this easily, especially when the guy doing the expelling says he knows you didn't make the speech? Surely the rules should be that you see this democratically elected official is ostensibly part of this hate group, but they can't be fired until after a thorough investigation.

     

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  2.  
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    Arsik Vek (profile), Apr 18th, 2013 @ 6:38am

    Actually, you can be added to a group without any action on your part, I was added to several by friends (Admittedly, most of them were things I didn't object to being in). I suspect there's an option somewhere in the privacy settings to change that, but I'll be damned if I can find it.

     

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  3.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Apr 18th, 2013 @ 6:53am

    Re:

    Just to clarify, she wasn't removed from office, just the proceedings that day. Still ridiculous, but not THAT ridiculous....

     

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  4.  
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    Ninja (profile), Apr 18th, 2013 @ 7:00am

    Re:

    I find this particularly annoying. While there are degrees to who can add you to groups if it's allowed in the permissions then they can add you to their groups/pages/events. It could be that one friend of hers added her to the group without any intention and never thinking it would derail into some hate stupidity.

    As you said the huge red alert here is placing liability for what others did in the victim and implying she should police the internet by herself. It's not only absurd but insane.

     

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  5.  
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    Ninja (profile), Apr 18th, 2013 @ 7:23am

    Re:

    I think it's not a direct opt-out way. I'm very annoyed by people adding me to events and then getting updates all the time. I admit I never looked carefully for an option to restrict it to events I said I was attending though but so far no luck. Sometimes Facebook privacy settings seem like some freudian mess.

     

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  6.  
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    Atkray (profile), Apr 18th, 2013 @ 7:41am

    Orly?

    Sounds like the group Kathy Dunderdale must GO!!! needs to add Kathy Dunderdale to their group.

     

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  7.  
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    TexasAndroid, Apr 18th, 2013 @ 7:53am

    Re: Orly?

    Indeed. This action is just setting things up for the playing of dirty political tricks. This time the politician may have been added innocently added (who knows). But if a politician can get in trouble for things that others do, you're setting things of for the others to deliberately do things just to get the politician in trouble. There are plenty of much, much more offensive groups out there (KKK, NAMBLA, WBC). I would not be surprised if a number of politicians start finding themselves added to a number of such offensive groups.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 18th, 2013 @ 7:55am

    lol, sounds like someone needs to start adding all these members to random hate groups since they know "how facebook groups work".

     

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  9.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Apr 18th, 2013 @ 7:57am

    Re: Re:

    Oh okay. Thanks. Yes, still ridiculous.
    It's like seeing a photo of a Ku Klux Klan gathering and a certain politician is just seen walking by looking at them, and then losing the plot and throwing them out of the meeting room.

     

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  10.  
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    Baldaur Regis (profile), Apr 18th, 2013 @ 8:07am

    Anytime a politician "insists that the government did indeed understand how [something technological] operates", a puppy gets kicked.

     

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  11.  
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    PaulT (profile), Apr 18th, 2013 @ 8:15am

    Re:

    "To join a Facebook group, you have to Like it."

    No you don't.

    "Does Facebook allow you to just add random people to groups without asking them?"

    Depending on your privacy settings and those of the group, yes. I've recently been added to 2 different groups by friends of mine without my prior permission, though I'm unsure of whether you can do this for everyone, members of other groups you're both members of, or just people you've friended.

    I agree with the rest of your comments.

     

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  12.  
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    PaulT (profile), Apr 18th, 2013 @ 8:18am

    Re: Re:

    Just to clarify, you have to "like" a page in order for you to be subscribed to updates from that page in your feed. Groups are a different section, where "likes" don't apply and updates don't appear on your feed - you usually have to go to the group directly to see updates.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 18th, 2013 @ 8:33am

    out of curiosity, what bill has she tried to propose or what bill has she agreed with that has made the government take this action? if they know how Facebook works then they will also know that things happen that you know nothing about. so, if Rogers was watching all the groups she belongs to, why would she watch a group that she doesn't belong to?

    as for being Justice Minister, it sounds to me that Darin King is the last person i would want in that position. how has any justice been shown here? what proof is there?

    then please explain what it is that Dunderdale (should be Dunderfoot!) is not going to be intimidated or bullied into doing/not doing?

    i suppose then, that those that have forced this person out of office are going to show the proof that she actually did as they have accused? i doubt it very much and refer back to my first comment. she has pissed off someone that has now used their position to get her fired and that was probably sticking up for the people rather than an industry or organisation.

     

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  14.  
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    Baldaur Regis (profile), Apr 18th, 2013 @ 9:40am

    Re: Re:

    Yes. That is EXACTLY how I imagine Canadian government works, except with more beer and less big anime eyes.

     

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  15.  
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    Leigh Beadon (profile), Apr 18th, 2013 @ 10:28am

    Re:

    A "group" in FB now is basically an enhanced mass email. You can add whoever you want to one. I'm assuming there's probably a way to block that buried in the granular privacy settings, but few people will have noticed/fully understood it.

     

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  16.  
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    art guerrilla (profile), Apr 18th, 2013 @ 11:13am

    Re: Re: Orly?

    yep, good point, droid...

    in these sad, dark days, when you can be classified/persecuted as a terrorist for supporting some group that does humanitarian work, which you have no idea is SECRETLY deemed a terroristical organization because, well, just BECAUSE SOME POLITICO DIDN'T 'like' them, we are ALL vulnerable to being secretly renditioned by Empire...

    ...and KNOW THIS: that is EXACTLY what the powers-that-be want: we are ALL TERRORIZED by 'our' (sic) own gummint and (in)justice system, such that we are all rendered as neutered mice who dare not squeak, not men who walk proudly on their hind legs and FORCE 'our' (sic) gummint to do OUR BIDDING, not the korporatocracy's...

    all according to the plutokrats plan...
    shut up and consume, sheeple, that is ALL you are good for...

    art guerrilla
    aka ann archy
    eof

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 18th, 2013 @ 11:47am

    Re: Re:

    The last time I looked I wasn't able to find it. I'd really like to be able to, I hate getting added to groups I don't want to be in - particularly with a "public" facebook account that pretty much automatically adds "friends" who request it, such as ... oh ... a politician might have.
    Being able to send be a request to join? Sure. Automatically joining me even if it's a group I would NEVER join on my own? Not so much. But there doesn't seem to be a setting for that...

     

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  18.  
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    Sarah Millin, Apr 18th, 2013 @ 11:55am

    hilarious follow up story

    CBC investigated how well Kathy Dunderdale and the Progressive Conservatives do know Facebook and Twitter: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/story/2013/04/17/nl-social-media-progressive-con servatives-417.html . Among other things they found Ms Dunderdale was following a porn account on twitter.

     

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  19.  
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    Jon, Apr 18th, 2013 @ 12:23pm

    Response to: Rikuo on Apr 18th, 2013 @ 4:06am

    Come back when you actually know how Facebook works.

     

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  20.  
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    toyotabedzrock (profile), Apr 18th, 2013 @ 1:08pm

    Waiting

    How long till the body leader is added to a group filled with hate.

    You know it's coming.

     

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  21.  
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    AB (profile), Apr 18th, 2013 @ 1:45pm

    Re: hilarious follow up story

    Now Dunderdale is claiming that it's because Rogers "has chosen to remain a part of a group that has allowed many violent and threatening comments," Sadly, it probably won't even effect her position. When it comes to politics I think that we Canadians are just too stupid for words.

     

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