Candidate's comments on city Facebook page

April 8, 2013 at 4:00 PM
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RIVERSIDE, Calif., April 8 (UPI) -- Mike Soubirous, a Riverside, Calif., council candidate, has posted comments on the municipal Facebook page and says the city cannot remove his opinions.

Soubirous, running for the Ward 3 Council seat in a June election, created a campaign Facebook page and used it to post comments and invitations for readers to click "like" on other posts on the city's Facebook page, The (Riverside) Press-Enterprise reported Monday.

Although he was advised by City Clerk Colleen Nicol his posts would be removed because state law forbids use of public resources for campaign activity, Soubirous said to him "social media is for promoting not only your business ... [but] your political status. To me [the city's page] was open and fair game because it's there."

"The city doesn't support individual candidates," Nicol said of the post entitled "Mike Soubirous for Riverside City Council, Ward 3." "The name itself was a statement of support for him as a candidate."

Jonathan Reichental, chief information officer of Palo Alto noted he tends to believe a city's Facebook page is a public resource, maintained by municipal employees.

"I would not be surprised if we see more and more of these dilemmas. A lot of what we're seeing in terms of technology is moving faster than policy," he said.

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