Obama Facebook poll developer comes forward

Palo Alto, Calif.-based Jesse Farmer tweets that he's already been interviewed by the Secret Service following the posting of his "Should Obama be Killed?" poll.

Updated 2.37pm PST with comments from the developer

The first step in discerning the source of the "Should Obama be Killed?" Facebook poll has been taken.

Jesse Farmer, of Bumbalabs in Palo Alto, Calif., has given permission for Facebook to reveal that he was the developer, but, significantly, not the author behind the poll that nauseated many Monday.

The poll, which was removed by Facebook when it was brought to the site's attention, offered those who wished to enjoy such an exercise four potential answers (see screen grab by The Huffington Post). More than 730 people participated before it was removed.

On Farmer's Twitter feed, Twitter.com/jessefarmer he describes himself as "Entrepreneur living in Palo Alto, Calif. I grew up in the Midwest and think everyone is awesome." Which will naturally be a relief to many.

The Huffington Post

On his site 20bits.com, which I am fairly sure stands for one more than 19 bits, rather than two obituaries, Farmer seems a genial and sociable type, saying: "If you're in the San Francisco Bay Area, drop me a line and let's meet up!" He may be getting one or two requests.

Farmer describes himself as "a bit obsessed with data and using it to build better products and companies."

On his Twitter feed, he declares that he has already talked with the Secret Service, who he endearingly abbreviates to "SS." Farmer posted: "The conversation with the SS was fine. If the goal was to resolve the issue + inform the SS, the way it went down was suboptimal."

A reading of a rather fractious Twitter exchange with Bababoosh, an Oklahoma City programmer, suggests that Farmer was unhappy that a third party had informed the Secret Service rather than leaving him to do so.

Farmer accuses Bababoosh of assuming he had "the worst motives."

In an e-mail to Technically Incorrect, Farmer says he first saw the offending and offensive poll Monday morning.

"I have a system in place to flag potentially offensive polls that I check once per day; I checked it Monday morning, saw the poll, and deleted it," he said.

Which might make some wonder what other potentially risque polling might have slipped onto Facebook's pristine pages.

He says that he knows the Facebook identity of the poll's author and one presumes that this author might have received a social call from the Secret Service.

Farmer's own chat with the service he describes as lasting 15 minutes and being "friendly," although he won't comment on specifics.

Perhaps it might amuse some and appall others to discover that he is an Obama supporter.

He told me: "I went to school at the University of Chicago (SB Mathematics, '06), where he was my state senator. I volunteered for him in the primaries, worked with the California data team, and canvassed in N. Michigan during the general."

 

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