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Prez Obama's Facebook event ambushed

world Updated: Apr 22, 2011 00:22 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

A "like" or an "unlike" on Facebook counts more than a "poke", presumably. Barack Obama faced all three on Wednesday and went home intact, in a first stump at a social networking site ever by a US president. Over 40,000 facebookers logged in to watch the even online.

Among them was a group of conservatives rallied together by an online group called ForAmerica.org who wanted to crash Obama's party, and nearly succeeded, bringing down the event page for 40 minutes.

But that was before Obama went on air.

In the morning White House put up a post inviting people to tune into the webcast with questions and comments. Over 40,000 people RSVPed to attend and a large number of them left questions for the president to answer.

Many of them urged him to legalize Marijuana, posting links to the National Cancer Institute findings that it helps deal with some side-effects of the treatment. You have tried it too, one of them said.

But a large number of questions and posts were about the ongoing deficit debate. Though they looked suspiciously similar, there was no reason to suspect a mass-mailer behind them.

ForAmerica.org was behind them, it later claimed.

It had requested its "million followers" to send this question or variations of it: "It's not a tough choice, Mr. President. You have added $3.5 TRILLION to the debt already, the first thing we should do is repeal Obamacare!"

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who moderated the townhall, didn't ask this question as formulated by the ForZmerica.org, but Obama did answer it in response to the questions put to him.

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