Unless the parents of a child behind a notorious Facebook poll decide to cut his or her allowance, there will be no consequences.
“The Secret Service has determined that a juvenile was behind the online survey that asked whether people thought President Barack Obama should be assassinated, an agency spokesman said Thursday,” Eilleen Sullivan reports for the Associated Press.
The agency launched an investigation after reports of the poll led to at least one complaint, agency spokesman James Mackin told CNN late Monday.
A poll hosted on Facebook asking if President Barack Obama “should be killed” is drawing anger from users of the social networking site, and has prompted at least one person to notify the Secret Service.
The poll, which Cory Bantic at DailyKos says has been up “since at least 8 p.m. ET” on Sunday, states plainly: “Should Obama be killed?” The possible answers are: Yes, Maybe, “If he cuts my health care,” and No, in that order.
As of noon Monday, 90 percent of respondents had said “no.” Just over five percent said yes, 2.6 percent said maybe, and 1.9 percent said “if he cuts my health care.”
Thursday’s AP report adds, “No criminal charges will be filed against the juvenile or the juvenile’s parents, spokesman Edwin Donovan said. Donovan would not identify the names of the child or parents or say where they are from.”
The wire service notes that after “agents met with the child and the child’s parents, they determined there was no intent to harm the president.”
“Case closed,” Donovan said. “I guess you could characterize it as a mistake.”
The developer of the Facebook application that was used to make the poll told RAW STORY that he was working with the Secret Service to put in safeguards to prevent something like this from happening again.
“I’ve implemented a new algorithm to detect polls like this sooner,” said Jesse Farmer, who created the polling software but was not involved in making the poll that asked “Should Obama be killed?”
“I’m working with both Facebook and the Secret Service to make sure it’s satisfactory,” Farmer said, adding that incidents like this are “unfortunate, but it’s the reality of giving people an open platform to say what they want. Someone is bound to do something reckless, libelous, or illegal eventually.”