Canadians Can't Post Election Info On Facebook

Elections Canada has formally warned citizens not to post election results to Facebook until all of the nation's polls close.

Canadians, don’t post election results to Facebook until all of the nation’s polls close.

So warns Elections Canada in an official social media policy for the May 2 vote, according to a press release the organization put out.

AFP asked for clarification and learned from a spokesperon that:

Results disseminated to an individual’s friends through Facebook’s email service would not be considered public transmission. However, results posted to a Facebook user’s wall may be considered public transmission, including cases where the user’s Facebook profile is public.

Apparently, this same policy applies to Twitter. Elections Canada is concerned that results will leak out before they’re finalized, which could possibly influence elections in the western part of the country — the rule intends to prevent voter apathy across all six of the country’s time zones.

Violating this rule could subject to Canadians to possible charges. Polls close across the country at 7 p.m. Pacific Standard Time and 9:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, according to AFP.

The warning about this ban seems odd compared to how Americans have embraced social media on the day of the last national election — it seemed like every single status update posted in the U.S. had something to do with the vote. Presumably Canada’s policy disallows early release of vote tallies, rather than posts about an individual’s vote, but if the organization doesn’t formally clarify the policy means a person can’t post who they voted for or are rooting for, Canadians might as well avoid all social media on May 2.

Readers, what do you think about Elections Canada’s warning about social media?

Publish date: April 21, 2011 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT