A half-cooked attempt to set up a conservative social network quickly collapsed into a heap of phony accounts, crude swearing, and pornographic GIFs.
Ohio Republican Janet Porter pre-launched ReaganBook – “Facebook for Patriots” – in April, after employees from the more well-known social media site took part in a LGBT rights demonstration in San Francisco.
After several left-leaning sites, including Raw Story, publicized the launch the fledgling social network, its several dozen presumably conservative users were quickly drowned out by a flood of phony accounts (Vladimir Putin, Sarah Palin, and Manuel Noriega) and less-obviously phony accounts.
“I think they’d attract more people and less trolls if they didn’t put that brand on it of Reagan — if they called it something else,” conservative blogger Amy Jo Clark told The Daily Beast.
Many users posted profane criticisms of former President Ronald Reagan, while others posted pornographic images and GIFs.
The only discernibly sincere comments found on the site were the persistent complaints about slow load times and overall poor user experience.
Porter, who is president of the anti-abortion group Faith2Action, announced Wednesday morning that administrators had been tasked with removing offensive posts and culling troll accounts from the site.
“Glad I did the pre-launch because that gives us an opportunity to tighten our security for the real launch,” Porter posted just hours earlier on her ReaganBook page. “Also, the fact that so many leftists have invested so much time in the site, It provides confirmation that we’re on the right track.”
But weeding out the trolls must have proven too difficult, because the site was taken offline by Wednesday afternoon, about 24 hours after the site launched.
“Please be patient while we make the necessary changes to keep the site free from obscenity, pornography, and those intent on the destruction of life, liberty, and the family,” site management said in a statement. “We will be opening the doors again soon with additional protections in place. As Reagan taught us, trust, but verify.”
No timetable was given for when ReaganBook might go back online.
[Image: A painting of President Ronald Reagan via Flickr/edalisse]