BY MEGAN LIDDY AND FIACHRA O’MAOLCRAOIBHE
On Monday night, the evening before polling began, avid social media users watched an electoral accident happen in real time.
A Facebook page once upon a time, used to promote the QUB campaign to reaffiliate to NUS-USI in November 2012, suddenly changed the page name to ‘Vote Breaking Thru on QOL’. This change was amplified, as the page was still linked to the official NUS-USI Twitter page. As a result, for some minutes, the NUS-USI Twitter page called for candidates to: ‘Vote for Martin Lilly #1 for President’. Whoops.
Current VP Campaigns and Communications, Connor Daly, had signed off on posts previously made on the page in its original NUS-USI format.
When asked for comment, Daly said: “The page was set up in a personal capacity at the time of the NUS-USI affiliation campaign in October 2012, whilst I was on annual leave. If the page was set up in professional capacity, that wouldn’t be proper. It was a dormant page so that’s why I decided to re use it, in a personal capacity. I didn’t know that the page was linked to the NUS USI Twitter page, and I was very surprised to hear that that was the case.”
When asked was he aware that the page was managed by himself and a full time member of NUS USI staff, he said that he was. He said that the team [the Breaking Thru ticket] didn’t know about this, considering that he did this as a supporter, he wouldn’t have been breaking any rules. Considering that the page was deleted so swiftly after the name change, the impact was limited.
However, Dominic Doherty clarified for the Gown that election candidates are essentially responsible for the behavior of their supporters and canvassers.