The recent spate of social media gaffes offering sideshows on the election trail highlights both the need for and dangers of scrutinizing the online personas of would-be politicians, say experts.
Video footage, tweets and Facebook status updates posted to the web long before the campaign kicked off have caused headaches among all political parties and forced candidates of all stripes to abandon their bids for elected office.
The content of the archived posts ranged from the sophomoric to the offensive, causing observers to wonder how party officials could have failed to spot the red flags while assessing each candidate’s online history.
Experts say that’s because social media has still not become a vetting priority for Canada’s political parties.
“It’s fairly obvious that all concerned are not giving enough weight to social media vetting before approving anyone’s candidacy,” social media analyst Carmi Levy said in a telephone interview. “They’re not doing basic due diligence, and it’s coming back to bite them.”