Much like Newt Gingrich became the first Republican presidential candidate to upgrade to Facebook timeline, French President Nicolas Sarkozy became the first potential presidential candidate in his country to do so, but not without some controversy.
France 24 reports that there has been much grumbling from the Socialist Party, the primary opposition to Sarkozy, that Facebook helped the president create his timeline and tweak his online image.
French newspaper L’Express obtained an email from Socialist Party Digital Campaign Manager Fleur Pellerin in which she chastised Facebook Content Director for France Julien Codorniou, who “informally assisted Nicolas Sarkozy’s campaign team so as to create a timeline on his fan page,” and that she “cannot approve of a company taking sides in a presidential campaign.”
Facebook responded in an email to France 24:
We are regularly in contact with numerous public figures, including politicians, for information and advice on how to use our products and services. We give them that help, but we remain completely impartial.
France 24 pointed out that Sarkozy’s timeline profile contains some 700 pictures, going all the way back to his birth, but fails to include controversial events during his presidency, nor does it mention his ex-wife, Cecelia Attias, Sarkozy’s special councilor when he served as interior minister.
Our take: We see nothing wrong with the information Sarkozy left out, nor Facebook helping him for that matter. If he uses it successfully, that may encourage more users in France to want to upgrade to the advanced profile. And part of making good use of timeline involves curating the content. And since Sarkozy will obviously use his timeline as a campaign tool, why would he include anything negative?
Readers: Do you have any issues with Facebook potentially helping public figures with their timelines?