Reportedly False Attempt to Bury Article on Stewart Tax Mailing Elections Complaint

Democratic City Council candidate Bobby Berriault reports that someone falsely used his identity in an attempt to have Facebook remove a New Britain Progressive article about an elections complaint filed against Republican Mayor Erin Stewart.

This New Britain Progressive article reports that a formal complaint has been filed against Stewart with the State Elections Enforcement Commission by Democratic Chair Bill Shortell. Shortell says that he filed the complaint in response to a brochure included in motor vehicle tax bills. The brochure, Democrats say, “included statements promoting Stewart’s candidacy under her campaign slogan ‘Leading the Way’ with information from Stewart’s campaign literature.”

State law prohibits a public official from using “public funds to mail or print flyers or other promotional materials intended to bring about his election or reelection” within three months prior to the election. The tax bills, containing the brochures arrived in taxpayers’ mailboxes in early September, well within the three month period.

Berriault provided the New Britain Progressive with an email and images that appear to show Facebook reacting to a complaint filed by Berriault, portraying Berriault as saying “I am being harrassed” by the Facebook post at the web link, https://www.facebook.com/NBProgressive/posts/1739839146309867. That link leads to the post on the New Britain Progressive‘s Facebook page of the Progressive article about the complaint against Stewart, “Complaint Against Stewart Filed Over ‘obvious campaign promotion in car tax bills’”.

But Berriault said that, “I never filed a report. Someone who is impersonating me had filed it but it wasn’t me.”

Berriault says that he has yet not heard back from Facebook about his response.

Berriault says that he first learned of the report in his name in an email that he received from Facebook. That email contains a link labeled, “View updates from your Support Inbox.” That link leads to the Facebook site, and it apparently requires a Facebook login to access.

The specific “Report Something on Facebook” questions in the email and image provided by Berriault appear to match the questions on a Facebook “Desktop Help” page, in a section labeled, “Report Something on Facebook.”

That Facebook page can be accessed without being logged into Facebook. It also gives users explicit instructions on, “How do I report abuse on Facebook if I don’t have an account or can’t see it?”

If such a site could accept a complaint without a Facebook login or any other kind of validation, it appears that it could be used by someone to file a complaint against content on Facebook in the name of someone other than the person actually filling out the form.