Cariboo-Prince George MP Todd Doherty with Prince Albert MP Randy Hoback at Pacific Western Brewery (My PG Now.com staff)
It happens to professional athletes, music artists, and even politicians.
We’re talking about bogus accounts on social media platforms like Facebook and a recent report states three federal cabinet ministers and over a dozen Conservative MP’s have been targeted where their profiles have been copied and the bogus messages offer constituents the opportunity to apply for federal grants.
Luckily, Prince George-Cariboo MP Todd Doherty was not among those impacted but did say a situation like this three months before the federal election is deeply troubling.
“It is a great concern that somebody would impersonate any member of parliament or any political leader for financial gain or to spread misinformation and that is definitely concerning.”
“You don’t really know who is responding or commenting on any of your posts and we’ve seen whether it’s through Twitter or Instagram or Facebook, it is easy to create a fake account.”
Doherty stated they have been on the receiving end of malicious threats or attacks that end up being a fake account, which has turned out to be one of the pitfalls of social media where you don’t always know who you’re speaking to on the other end.
He adds social media is a big piece of his day-to-day involvement with the public, so to see something like this is disheartening.
“We take great pride in ensuring that we’re getting accurate information out and social media is the primary source or platform that I use to get messages out to my constituents whether it’s on a day-to-day basis or such events like the wildfires.”
“At the end of the day, all you have is your integrity and we have somebody out there that is using social media in a malicious way, I think it is deeply troubling.”
Now the Conservative MP did admit he came across a similar situation four years ago during his political campaign.
“I guess during the 2015 campaign we knew that there were a number of fake accounts that were spreading this information or comments that were very malicious on posts that I had made or people I was supporting on what we were doing as a party, those are the things we have seen, we have never seen anything to my knowledge sending messages out portraying themselves as me either on my personal or professional account.”
Doherty reminds the public to deal only with verified accounts that have a blue checkmark on them and that they would never solicit or post offers of funding or ask or request personal information through social media whether it’s through the main page or private message.
If you are concerned or receive anything that is deemed to be suspicious in nature, he asks the public to call either his Prince George or Ottawa office at 250 564 7771 or 613 995 6704.