(CNSNews.com) – On Wednesday, President Barack Obama’s town hall meeting on Facebook was “unavailable” to viewers for 39 minutes after it was flooded with comments by a conservative group’s “online army” demanding that the president “repeal Obamacare,” the administration’s health care reform law enacted in March of last year.
For 39 minutes during the president’s “Shared Responsibility and Shared Prosperity” Facebook event, a screenshot displayed the message: “Event Unavailable. We’re sorry, this event isn’t working right now. Please try again later.”
A conservative group, ForAmerica, had urged its followers on Facebook to post the following comment as the president was holding his town hall meeting from Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif.: “It’s not a tough choice, Mr. President. You have added $3.5 TRILLION to the debt already, the first thing we should do is repeal Obamacare!”
“We encouraged ForAmerica's nearly 1 million strong Facebook community to comment on President Obama’s Facebook town hall page and call for the repeal of ObamaCare,” ForAmerica Chairman Brent Bozell said.
Bozell is the president of the Media Research Center, the parent organization of CNSNews.com.
“As the comments grew on the town hall page we marveled at the speed and volume of posts from ForAmerica supporters,” said Bozell. “Within a few minutes, the town hall page was taken down and labeled ‘unavailable,’ and it was down for at least 39 minutes. When it was restored, no new comments were allowed for several more minutes. We are only beginning to see the untapped power of this growing, formidable online army.”
In an e-mail message, CNSNews.com asked the Facebook press office: “Why was the event not available for part of the town hall forum with the President? 1.) Were the posts prompted by the group ForAmerica.org a factor in closing down the town hall forum? 2.) If so, was this based on the volume of comments or the content of comments?”
In response, Andrew Noyes, Facebook manager for public policy communications, said, “I’m unable to comment on why some people reported that the event was unavailable for a brief period of time. The page was and is operational.”