I thought I WAS a pussy cat. Turns out it was fake news and an attempt to cast aspersions on a community group.

News 100 blackBy Pepper Parr

February 16th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

Was it fake news?

Was it legitimate comment?

Or was it a mischievous cat that had eaten too much catnip and is now out of control?

We published a piece on just how the city found itself before the Ontario Municipal Board on the original ADI Development Group application to put up a high rise tower on the corner of Martha and Lakeshore road in 2015.

That article included a link to a story that had Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward exchanging views with Tom Muir who had challenged the explanation Meed Ward had given as to why the city missed the 180 timeline for processing development applications.

Westbury Pat Facewbook picturePat Westbury, a Gazette reader took that link and posted it on the ECoB web site. Nothing wrong with that.

But then we got a note via Facebook from the reader who identified himseslf/herself as Pat Westbury who at 11:04am on Friday sent us the following:

Interesting, this same 2015 article from the Gazette was posted on the ECOB Facebook page. They marked it as spam and despite being informed it wasn’t, they deleted the article. Very telling actions from a group that aspires to represent residents. Just another special interest group ?

Was EcoB deleting material we had published from their web site?  We sent them a note asking what the message meant? Any truth to this we asked?

Our EcoB contact got back to us and said:

I am the only one with access to the Facebook page and have no idea what you are talking about. Give me a call if you want, maybe it was a visitor post and that person took it down?

A few minutes later the ECoB contact added:

So I just looked it up and the comment was posted 2 hours ago by a person under the name of Pat Westbury. It looks like Pat has made the comment only visible to her/him and me (ECoB Facebook admin). I haven’t been on Facebook all day so it was most definitely “Pat” who hid the comment unless someone else can mark it as spam but it certainly wasn’t me and there is no notification of someone else marking it as spam. I think I would be notified if someone else marked a comment on my page as spam.

This Pat Westbury has been a mystery to us….no friends on Facebook, opened account in November I believe and has over the top privacy settings.

An hour after the initial link was posted (not sure when it was made private) someone using the name John Was posted the link again. Very smelly indeed.

The Gazette has had dealings with Mr. Was in the past.  We had to ask that he no longer comment on the Gazette web site.

At 10:20 pm on Friday we heard from Pat again:

This is visible only to me and ECOB. “Your comment was marked as spam. Show comment” When I click on “Show comment” it tells me comment deleted. Shenanigans, or just censoring comments? Either way not very credible.

Pat wasn’t giving up.

We now knew who was behind the shenanigans

It was an attempt at fake news – is it a sign on how the municipal election is going to be played out.

Civil civic comments only please.  Let’s always hold each other accountable.

Return to the Front page
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

4 comments to I thought I WAS a pussy cat. Turns out it was fake news and an attempt to cast aspersions on a community group.

  • Paul

    So pathetic…people living in the shadows on social networks spreading fake information…cowardly, disturbing and manipulative all at the same time!

  • Stephen White

    It truly is sad that this manipulation is going on. Equally troubling are the number of articles and comments on the Gazette over the past couple of weeks referencing obscene, uncivil or offensive behaviour, and requests for people to be respectful.

    True…there are a lot of contentious issues and concerns in the community, and people have very strong opinions. But we really plumb the depths of civilized discourse if we can’t at least exchange ideas without insulting one another or engaging in malicious and hurtful behaviour.

  • Lynn Crosby

    This is disturbing on several levels.

  • Steve Warner

    Good sleuthing Pepper. That’s the trouble with Facebook and other social media sites – lots of dubious unverified ids that people can appear anonymous with and make outrageous fake comments with.

Leave a Reply