|Hawthorne - the profile is gone, but there|
is a lesson in it for us all
You can be sure however that those who are involved with UKIP and have a significant number of political friends on Facebook who they have never met in real life are likely to have one if not more already buried away. If the Hawthorne attempt had not made some fairly basic errors, it would have been much harder to spot. Even my own Facebook profile - Dave Briggs - has been accepted unquestioningly by almost 400 people, and while I know a handful in real life, I have only just joined Facebook. Hopefully, myself and my blog here have proved their worth and our commitment to the UKIP cause, but to those of you I don't know - particularly those who are standing as UKIP candidates at local, national or European level - even I could have trawled your profiles and screenshotted the odd questionable remark or internet 'meme'.
There seems to have been a spate of fake profiles lately, and this seems to be the new angle of attack both for the Tories who - financed by Ashcroft's millions - compiled a dossier just ahead of the local elections in May, and for Hope not Hate who are likely to step up their attacks on UKIP in order to justify their continued existence now that the far-right are largely defeated. They need a new enemy, and quickly, or they will fade into irrelevance.
I know many of you have separate profiles for personal and political use. Alternatively, you can set up a page to keep people informed of your political activities, while keeping the poor taste jokes, rude pictures and personal banter private on your own profiles. The key is to adjust your privacy settings to be sure that you only let people see what you want them to see. That uproariously funny joke that you shared with your friends after a few drinks last night won't seem quite so funny on the front page of the Daily Mirror accompanied by a serious political commentary attacking you personally as a racist/fascist/homophobe/misogynist. If you accept all requests without question, you must not think that your profile is private. It is not.
I don't mean to preach. You are all adults, and must decide for yourself. Remember though that in the less than 24 hour existence of the Hawthorne profile, it had amassed 142 mutual friends with me out of my total of abour 380, and most of you are UKIPpers. There is a lesson here for us all!