What is this Mayor Thinking?

This story was the subject of an interesting post by James Gunter over at The Crime Map:

PORTLAND, Ore. -- A Twitter account with no ties to Portland police is using the police bureau's badge and operating under the name "pdxpolice."

The operator of the account has already posted some startling tweets, including one that declared the user was using Photoshop to place Police Commissioner Dan Saltzman's face in gay pornography.

Some Portlanders said the account could send the wrong message to unsuspecting visitors.

"People are looking for the Portland police department and that's the information they get," said John Stevens, who works in downtown Portland.

Other posts on the Twitter account poke fun at the fact that a Portland police officer had a gun and Taser recently stolen from an unmarked police vehicle. The tweets also touch on Officer Chris Humphreys, who shot a 12-year-old girl with a beanbag round during an arrest last year.

The police bureau's real Twitter account, located at Portland Police, boasts 1,784 followers.

The fake account, located at PDX Police, has just 28 followers and Mayor Sam Adams is among them.

Adams press secretary said he was not interested in commenting on the account...
I am guessing that more fake Twitter police accounts will soon appear elsewhere in the US, but Twitter's Verify Account (which is currently being tested) or some other solution will soon make impersonators a non-issue.

In my opinion, Mayor Sam Adams response to the situation is the disturbing part of this story.

As the city's leader, you cannot allow your name to be linked to an individual who is spewing offensive content on the Web.

With the Mayor listed as a follower of the impersonator, it adds some credibility to the deceptive police agency's account.

When the story broke, I think Mayor Adams had two options after telling the press that his office was looking into the matter:

1) He admits to being duped and states that he mistakenly registered to receive Tweets from the fraudulent account. He continues that the problem has been resolved, and that he is no longer a follower of the impersonator; or,

2) He learns that the fake police follower on Twitter is not using his account and is an impersonator as well. He then informs the press of his staff's findings.
"No comment" is not an acceptable answer for an executive when his/her photo appears next to some goofball discussing porn online.

It is even more inexcusable considering that the story broke over three days ago and the mayor, with his smiling face, is still listed as a follower to offensive police impersonator.
__________________________________________________________________

UPDATE: 3/6/2010

I spoke directly with Portland Mayor's Communication Director Roy Kaufmann and verified that the comment originally left on my post was from him.

I appreciate Roy taking time to leave his office's explanation as to the story, and I wanted to attach his text directly to the post:

Thanks for your post. Here at the mayor's office, we utilize twitter and other social media platforms to follow conversations happening in the Portland community. Initially, we followed the twitter feed in question as one of hundreds of portland feeds. however, with the feed's tweets becoming increasingly intolerant and hurtful, we have stopped following this feed. I appreciate the conversation around this issue and always want to get better at navigating social media and the public sector.

THX,

roy Kaufmann

communications director

office of mayor adams
Roy also stated that the "no comment" I referred to in my post was in relation to the legality of the police impersonator in which he referred the media's questions on that topic to police officials.

Further, he told me that he confirmed this morning that the mayor was not a follower of the police impersonator (I tried to verify the removal as I write this update, but still see Mayor Sam Adams as "following" the bogus law enforcement Twitter feed).

23 comments:

Meadowlark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
 ALH said...

Wow. I can't believe how unprofessionally that situation has been handled. I'm surprised this isn't a bigger story.

My Husband's Watching TV... said...

That's crazy!!!

Javajune said...

You're right, no comment is umexceptable, it leaves too much in question. I loved the story about your son and the girls in school. Kids are so cute and they're straight forward honesty makes me smile. I spent some time in portland a few months ago it is a whole other place. I was amazed! Have a wonderful weekend.
xo-jj

J. J. in Phila said...

I have a little different opinion.

I will look look at things to see what people are saying negatively about something I'm supporting. I think that is prudent, especially if for a public official.

Reading something, and agreeing with it, are two different thing.

Gayle said...

Perhaps he wasn't thinking...:)
I'm glad you have been stopping by for a visit to my blog, I will stop by often and see you as well!

Luisa Doraz said...

People take actions before they play them out! Have a great weekend! :)

Ann T. said...

Dear Slamdunk,
I think that J.J. in philly lists a viable option three, but it still isn't well-handled.

You can follow people for negative information, but he should also have informed the police department there or the City's legal office to have it stopped.

What a jackass. Excuse my language.

Have a great weekend,
Ann T.

Slamdunk said...

Thanks for the feedback all.

@ JJ: Thanks for your perspective. I considered that as an alternative, but would still disagree for two reasons:

1) The inappropriate tweets are being delivered to the Mayor's official accounts. The public would not tolerate the mayor receiving emails that discuss sex acts being perpetrated against mentally ill persons (I am paraphrasing here) or similar communications, and this is no different--just being delivered in another format.

2) If the mayor wanted to keep tabs on what the rogue is doing, Portland is a big city and certainly has a legal advisor's office that should be doing the monitoring. If he wanted to know what the impersonator was writing, the mayor could simply visit the public site a few times a week and see for himself--and not have his image appearing on the profile to seemly add legitimacy to the illusion.

Understanding those that are critical of you or your administration is important, but a city’s top official registering as a friend or follower on an account that features inappropriate and offensive behavior is clearly another issue.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your post. Here at the mayor's office, we utilize twitter and other social media platforms to follow conversations happening in the Portland community. Initially, we followed the twitter feed in question as one of hundreds of portland feeds. however, with the feed's tweets becoming increasingly intolerant and hurtful, we have stopped following this feed. I appreciate the conversation around this issue and always want to get better at navigating social media and the public sector.
THX,

roy Kaufmann

communications director

office of mayor adams

portland.

AB HOME Interiors said...

Wow I agree with ALH. I cant believe this hasn't gotten bigger coverage. That is incredible!

Cindy (C.L.) Beck said...

Oh my gosh, I'm sorry but the whole things strikes me as funny. I'm just not sure why the mayor's office doesn't take it less seriously, and say something about it.

Impersonators are becoming a problem with Twitter, that's for sure.

Holly said...

The last thing the police need are fake twitter account to deal with. This =mayor is a real winner, eh? Portland needs a new mayor.

Kristin said...

Not the sharpest tool in the shed eh?

Tony said...

Hi Slam Dunk, thanks for visiting my blog @ Wordpress. Your sleep deprivation isn't from Obsessive Blogging is it???
I think the Mayor may have some serious involvement with the Fake Tweeter. You just never know, a conspiracy theory in the making perhaps

Eternally Distracted said...

I can't believe that he is STILL listed as a follower... that is ridiculous.

souldose said...

I think deleting the fake account is a must and why did the impersonator tell blatant lies that made him get caught? Some people... Maybe the mayor hasn't logged onto twitter yet and maybe he'll stop following once he does, I hope.

angelcel said...

It sounds like a dreadful mistake by someone as interested in and up-to-date with Tweeting etc. as myself. Having had the mistake highlighted I'd have thought that pulling yourself off the Followers list PDQ would be a good idea!

Audrey Allure said...

I honestly don't think people should take Twitter so seriously. If they wanted legit information, they should try looking up their official website or other reliable means. It should be a given that fake twitters exist, and before following an account they can see what the tweets are like.

You're right, the mayor's response could have been handled more properly.

J. J. in Phila said...

SD, I think the public would agree that, if it involves the city, the mayor's office should be following, even if it is hateful.

I'm not a particular fan of this Mayor Adams, but I think it is not unreasonable for his office to follow this.

Agreeing with something and just reading it are two different things.

In my own blogging experience, I've been told that one of the people I was most critical of, was a regular reader.

BobKat said...

Interesting story, and the mayor being a follower is quite surprising. But I have to add how ironic it is that we as a society are so concerned about who's following who. And our fears of getting involved.

My site has a simulated marijuana leaf as part of the header on my Blog... I know of at least three friends/acquaintances that don't dare follow my blog, and as far as I can tell, it's because of the marijuana leaf.Aside from frustrating spelling and grammatical errors I make, overall, their opinion is they like my blog... of course I'm not pretending to be someone other than myself, but my point is... why should anyone be intimidated from becoming a follower of my blog? Why should the mayor have to explain why he came a member of the blog he followed? Sure, it may raise some eyebrows, and may generate questions, but if we're going to dictate who can follow who, what's next? A cast system?

Oz Girl said...

I agree. "No comment" is unacceptable in this situation. The mayor needs to address this and rectify it. I understand what JJ propositions, BUT the mayor still would not have to FOLLOW that account publicly to keep an eye on it.

Amanda West said...

What is the world coming to?

They're bound to become a laughing stock.