ARCHER: Facebook can make or break a politician

It’s no secret that during an election, a candidate's skeletons can be pulled out from the closet and displayed in the light for all to see. It’s happened on all levels of government, and makes a juicy plot twist for Hollywood movies and HBO shows. But it’s hard to think it could happen to you.

We recently got a taste of how things play out when a less-than-desirable aspect of a candidate's life gets thrown to the wolves and chewed up on social media when a young man made a public announcement last Friday that he would be running for mayor against some well-known politicians.

It didn't take long before people went to Edson Chan’s personal profile page on Facebook and found what they interpreted to be sexist and homophobic comments. The comments were shared on local political action pages and it only took a few hours before Chan said he would no longer be running for mayor.

Chan later told me the comments were never meant to hurt anyone nor were they directed at any person in particular. 

In this day and age when people share their life stories on social media, we need to be careful what we share—especially when we’re running for public office.

It’s one thing to change your privacy settings, but, as we have seen, it’s not going to protect you completely. Social media can be a great tool for candidates to launch a platform and connect with their constituents. But it can also be used against them.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Meaghan Archer at or call 250-488-3065. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

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