Obama assassination poll on Facebook probed

The U.S. Secret Service is investigating a poll posted on Facebook asking people to vote on whether President Barack Obama should be assassinated.

Special Agent Ed Donovan, a spokesman for the Secret Service, said this afternoon that the agency launched a probe into the matter and currently is looking for the person who posted the poll. He said the poll, which went online Saturday, was taken down Monday morning after the Secret Service alerted Facebook to its presence on the site.

The poll asked “Should Obama be killed?” and gave users answer choices: yes, maybe, if he cuts my health care, and no.

Neither the Secret Service nor Facebook would say how many people voted in the poll and what the results were. A screen shot of the poll,   which was posted on the blog, The Political Carnival, shows that at some point at least 387 people had voted.

Earlier this month, Facebook, Twitter and other social sites were also cited by a study as sources of personal information leaks.

Barry Schnitt, a spokesman for Facebook, was quick to point out that this was not a poll that originated from the social networking site itself.

“The third-party application that enabled an individual user to create the offensive poll was brought to our attention this morning,” wrote Schnitt in an e-mail to Computerworld. “The application was immediately suspended while the inappropriate content could be removed by the developer and until such time as the developer institutes better procedures to monitor their user-generated content.”

A source within law enforcement noted that while posting the poll in and of itself is not illegal, federal investigators can’t discount the possibility that the person behind the poll has malicious intentions. The source said the Secret Service needs to interview the person to gauge his or her ultimate intent. 

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