Social networking profiles can be dangerous for everyone. Even the most harmless photo taken and then uploaded can be used against you. For the politician? It can be deadly.
While some unfortunately exposed officials barely escape with the trail of shame behind them, lots don't even make it to Election Day. Here are a few stories surrounding the ruin brought upon those unfortunate enough to have Facebook used against them.
Rudy's Daughter Supports Obama
In the summer of 2007, New York City's former Republican mayor Rudy Giuliani was still considering a run for president. And while he was hoping to count on the votes of New Yorkers who adored him, he didn't expect to have to convince his own daughter to give him her vote. Seventeen-year old Caroline actually had another candidate in mind.
On her Facebook profile, Caroline not only defined herself as "liberal," but she also had recently joined a group called "Barack Obama (One Million Strong for Barack)." After online magazine Slate broke the news (with incriminating screenshots attached
), Giuliani's daughter quickly quit the Obama fan group and deleted her entire page. While Caroline's attempt to change history was swift, she obviously didn't learn her lesson -- a Google search reveals a new Twitter profile
. While it might be locked, you would think she would've quit the whole social networking thing for good.
Mihos Celebrates a Mysterious Death?
Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate Christy Mihos's daughter posted a celebratory family toast on her Facebook account
. This innocent-looking picture inspired anger after a closer look at the image seemed to reveal the toast being made over a copy of the Boston Herald. And in that particular Herald? An article in which Mihos slammed Big Dig officials for misconduct surrounding the death of a woman caused by debris from the mammoth construction project. Not exactly joyous-toast-type material, eh?
While the family claims that it was an innocent birthday toast, let's just say that Mihos didn't win that year's election and in the future, his daughter might want to post family pictures elsewhere.
Bill Frist's Son Doesn't Like Jews. Just kidding. No, But seriously, He Hates Jews.
During his 12 years as a United States senator representing Tennessee -- including a four-year stint as Republican Majority Leader -- Bill Frist encountered quite a few of the usual controversies that come along with being in the public eye, but none as embarrassing as the one brought on by his son, Jonathan, and his Facebook account
In 2006, Jonathan was a student at Vanderbilt and, like the rest of his class, had an open Facebook account. And while your kegstand pics will probably go unnoticed (until you try to get a job, that is
) Jonathan's face tracked across the Web when he was pictured wearing six cans of beer strapped to his belt. Typical college stuff, you argue. Sure, until Roll Call, the Washington insiders' newspaper published on Capitol Hill, reported that Jon's Facebook entry "declared him a member of the 'Jonathan Frist appreciation for 'Waking Up White People' group. It also mentioned a group where there were 'No Jews allowed. Just kidding. No seriously.'" Yikes.
Young, Pretty Town Council Candidate Grabs Boobs
Shouldn't the first rule of modern politics be to keep compromising photos of yourself off the Internet? These days, it should. Perhaps it's not quite a given over in Ireland -- where Emma Kiernan, a candidate seeking a seat on the Newbridge Town Council, had a picture posted of herself on Facebook. Sounds pretty normal for a young woman celebrating her 30th birthday, right? Not when the salacious snapshot features some girl-on-girl (clothed) boob-grabbing
Not out of the ordinary for silly pictures, but still not wholesome enough for a Town Council. My new favorite Facebook group, "Vote for Emma Kiernan" not only features the much-discussed photo as its profile pic, but announces, "Please help us by voting for Emma Kiernan so we can see some groupage [sic] at the next Fine Gael Ard Feis." And that's how you get votes. Viral marketing!
23-Year-Old Chairman Mocks a Missing Child ... by Dressing Up As Her
It's one thing to cross dress (we don't judge!), but to publicly declare you're dressing as a missing 5-year-old girl for a New Year's party? It's probably best you stay out of politics. We're not joking: the 23-year-old chairman of Conservative Future (a Tory activist group in London), Matt Lewis, actually thought it would be a fun idea to mock the missing child Madeleine McCann by wearing, "a pair of pink pajamas, a blonde wig, a teddy bear and a vial of fake blood
Even his friends advised against this idea, prompting Lewis himself to reply to his own Facebook status, writing, "It's my bad taste party outfit =D" As you can imagine, this was not something the young conservatives of Great Britain wanted to promote and Lewis was quickly kicked out of the party. Good thing there are plenty of other "bad taste" parties out there!
Uruguay Politician Posts Pics of Herself in the Shower
Even the suggestion of nude pictures on Facebook can get people seriously riled up. After posting a picture of herself in the shower (accompanied by the comment, "there's nothing more natural than a woman in the shower"), Uruguay's Interior Minister, Daisy Tourne, caused quite a stir. Don't get too excited, the picture merely showed "Tourne's hands and laughing face beneath running water
," but opposition leaders immediately attacked the newspaper with critiques of Tourne's behavior, calling it in "bad taste" and "frivolous."
Rising Star Gropes Hillary Cutout
Although we like to think we're smarter than the rest, American's aren't quite immune to a Facebook slip-up. Even the most esteemed up-and-coming political stars face potential Facebook slander of their own doing. This is what happened to one of Obama's young speechwriters, Holy Cross valedictorian Jon Favreau. As if he didn't have enough problems going into politics sharing a name with Hollywood's schlubbiest swinger, Favreau didn't help his case when pictures appeared of him groping a cardboard cut out of incoming Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton
at a party. In an uncanny defiance of the usual fallout from a Facebook scandal, it didn't seem to really dent the young politician's rise to stardom. This year, Favreau was named Obama's Director of Speechwriting and is currently dating Rashida Jones
Clearly Facebook's ability to let anyone upload anyone else's likeness to the mostly public social networking site is kryptonite for those in the public eye. Many of our public servants need to put a tighter reign on their respective activities online -- or just stop trying to get elected.
Have you heard about any other notorious cases of TMI for those in the public eye?
From the Web:
Facbook Friends We'd Like To Disown
Facebook Warning Signs: A Guide for New Roommates.
The 49 Most Influential Men.
Crappy Celeb Apologies.