The RCMP created a fake social media accounts to reach out to protest groups from Black Lives Matter Toronto to Idle No More.
The RCMP set up fake Facebook and Twitter accounts to monitor activists activities.
Was Bebop Arooney a Facebook friend of yours? If so, your account may have been monitored by the RCMP.
A report in the Toronto Star says the RCMP posed as a curious, cash-strapped student to obtain information on protests and rallies.
The social media account, had a profile picture of three penguins frolicking on a beach, tracked the Facebook pages of more than two dozen organizations in Toronto, ranging from Black Lives Matter Toronto and Idle No More to the Ukrainian Canadian Congress.
“This is the disgusting reality of working for justice for black people,” Black Lives Matter Toronto said in a statement to The Star. “You get treated as a threat, like you were doing something wrong.”
Documents obtained by The Star under the Access to Information Act show the RCMP prodding organizers of an anti-Novotel union rally in 2012 with seemingly harmless questions about the availability of free food and refreshments at the rally.
But Lis Pimental, the president of the union that planned the demonstration, found nothing harmless about the covert social media activity.
“The idea that the RCMP would attempt to interfere with the charter-protected rights of workers simply underscores the importance of those very rights,” she told The Star.
“It’s unacceptable for any employer to do it. It is doubly unacceptable for the RCMP, who are supposed to be here to protect us, to do it.”
The RCMP admitted that it created the fake Facebook profile, and a separate Twitter account (@angrycitizen123) but told The Star it no longer uses them to track activists.
“The (Facebook) account mentioned was opened in 2005 for operational reasons, and since that time, the RCMP’s social media practices have changed and evolved and now we use an official media account for such purposes,” a spokesperson told The Star.
“The Facebook account is historical and no longer relevant.”
The Facebook profile was deleted Thursday, but the Twitter account is still active.