The name Everest Whilemsen may sound familiar to you. Last year the Secret Service was investigating him after making threats to President Obama over social media, most notably Facebook. Well he is back with a new group, now soliciting donations and offering a “reward for the capture of Obama”, which also happens to be the name of the group. When I saw this yesterday, I decided to report it to Facebook. Here’s what they said:
Here is a screenshot of the entire post made by Everest, so that you don’t have to be on Facebook to see it. He is not only soliciting donations, but also offering the money to anyone who “arrest” President Obama. This all is happening on the heals of congressional hearings into lapses in the Secret Service and the fact that they are over worked and under-staffed.
This also comes a day after Facebook had to apologize for their enforcement of their “real name” policy that allowed the removal the accounts of Drag Queens:
I want to apologize to the affected community of drag queens, drag kings, transgender, and extensive community of our friends, neighbors, and members of the LGBT community for the hardship that we’ve put you through in dealing with your Facebook accounts over the past few weeks.
In the two weeks since the real-name policy issues surfaced, we’ve had the chance to hear from many of you in these communities and understand the policy more clearly as you experience it. We’ve also come to understand how painful this has been. We owe you a better service and a better experience using Facebook, and we’re going to fix the way this policy gets handled so everyone affected here can go back to using Facebook as you were.
That statement was made yesterday by Chris Cox, the Chief Product Officer at Facebook. In that statement, he closes with a vow to offer better reporting tools:
All that said, we see through this event that there’s lots of room for improvement in the reporting and enforcement mechanisms, tools for understanding who’s real and who’s not, and the customer service for anyone who’s affected. These have not worked flawlessly and we need to fix that. With this input, we’re already underway building better tools for authenticating the Sister Romas of the world while not opening up Facebook to bad actors.
But how about better tools for reporting threats against people, namely the President? Facebook needs to take responsibility as the biggest social media site in the world and the impact/influence they have on people. If that means hiring more people to actually review reports, then cough up the money. If not, then perhaps its time to hold these companies liable for the actions of their users. Legal sanctions, or a frog march of Mark Zuckerberg could provide a perfect wake-up call to the short comings of these companies in their role played in the lives of millions of citizens.