That Panda Was NOT Ryan Haynes (and the TBI is NOT investigating)

State Rep. Ryan Haynes’ Facebook identify was stolen last week and the imposter posted fake statements using “a lot of colorful language” under the lawmaker’s name for a while, the Knoxville Republican said Monday.
Haynes said he had visited a library on Wednesday and logged into Facebook while there. He speculated that someone may have seen him type in a password and used it to take over his page on the social media network later.
His listing of personal information was changed to say that he was homosexual and that he worked for the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft, a reference to the school attended by the fictional Harry Potter. His picture on the site was replaced by a photo of a panda.
The imposter also sent messages that were offensive to many, the legislator said, and when the missive brought a response, replied in a flippant and derogatory manner.
“I got about 150 phone calls in 30 minutes,” he said. “People thought I was committing political suicide and wanted to know what was going on.”
Haynes said he called Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director Mark Gwyn, who advised him “there really wasn’t much they could do.”
Kristen Helm, spokeswoman for TBI, confirmed the conversation and said Gwyn had advised Haynes to get in touch with Facebook directly.
“Due to Facebook’s policies and procedures, law enforcement does not have a mechanism in place to investigate complaints about Facebook. So TBI is not investigating this incident,” Helm said in an email.
A law approved by the General Assembly earlier this year – with Haynes among the large majority voting for it – authorizes law enforcement to obtain identifying information on those who post statements or pictures intended to cause “emotional distress.”
Haynes agreed that the law should not apply in his case.
“I can’t say that I was emotionally distressed,” he said. “I just wanted to make sure people knew that wasn’t me doing all that.”
The legislator said he subsequently got in touch with Facebook overseers who deleted the imposter postings and “everything is straightened out now.”

Leave a Reply