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Political Ethics On Twitter & Ontario Elections #voteON

October 3, 2011 5 comments

@OntarioPressSec "Media Office" Twitter follow notification in my email

With the start of the 40th Ontario Provincial Elections campaign I noticed that the account “@OntarioPressSec” who I was following and followed me had changed their handle to become @LibPressSec. I had been following @OntPressSec/@LibPressSec since I tried to get Premier Dalton McGuinty’s recognition of Foursquare Day Toronto 2011 in April. I also noticed that now there was – clearly a new, placeholder account – @OntarioPressSec which doesn’t and hasn’t tweeted since its creation on September 2, 2011.

I am at war with myself over whether I agree with these tactics as being ethical during an election. As you can see in the picture above, the account which is being run by a staffer of the Liberal Party of Ontario identified itself in April as being “Media Office” who had a biography which read “Associate Press Secretary in the Office of the Premier of Ontario.” The placeholder @OntarioPressSec Twitter account says in its biography “Account not monitored. Please interact here: @LibPressSec.” It directs people to the Liberal Party of Ontario’s Twitter account with no direction to the Ontario NDP, or Ontario Progressive Conservatives.

During the time when the account which used to be the Media Office for the Premier of Ontario’s Office was just that it managed to amass 3,713 Followers as of the writing of this post, up from 2,275 in April – the election campaign officially began September 7, 2011 so make your own guess how many of those 1,438 followers that have been added since April came on since the beginning of the election campaign. I feel as though that is sort of wrong in a way and, again, unethical. I understand that the account cannot become the mouthpiece of the Liberal Party of Ontario while still under the name @OntarioPressSec during an election campaign but why should they get to bring over all those followers who wanted to know the goings on of the Government of Ontario to suddenly be inundated with Liberal Party tweets. As well, if Dalton McGuinty and the Ontario Liberals lose the election does the new government of Ontario get control of both the placeholder account and the one which is now a Liberal Party mouthpiece? Read more…

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