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Michelle O'Neill's Facebook page no longer run from Serbia

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Deputy First Minster Michelle O’Neill (Liam McBurney/PA)

Deputy First Minster Michelle O’Neill (Liam McBurney/PA)

PA

Deputy First Minster Michelle O’Neill (Liam McBurney/PA)

The Facebook account for Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill is no longer being managed by someone based in Serbia, it has emerged.

Three weeks ago, it was revealed Sinn Fein's main Facebook page and Ms O'Neill's page were being managed by people based in Serbia.

Those managing the accounts were linked to a digital media company based in Stoneybatter in Dublin which was being run by a former senior Facebook manager.

Facebook's Ad Library now shows Ms O'Neill's account is not being managed by anyone based in Serbia, but Sinn Fein's account is still being managed in the eastern European country. Sinn Fein has not responded to questions about why Ms O'Neill's account is no longer being managed from Serbia.

A Facebook source said: "If Serbia is no longer listed as a location in the section 'people who manage', this admin that was based in Serbia is either no longer a page admin or they are no longer in Serbia."

Meanwhile, Tanaiste Leo Varadkar has insisted May Lou McDonald must urgently address questions about Sinn Fein's social media activity and its internal voter database.

Mr Varadkar said Ms McDonald had "gone very quiet" since it emerged the Republic's data protection commissioner was seeking answers from the party. Mr Varadkar also called on the Sinn Fein leader to face questions.

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The Fine Gael leader said: "Anyone can see there is something fishy about Sinn Fein's social media activities... (there's) just something not right about it all".

"So much activity. So many bots and organised pile-ons against opponents.

"American money. Social media operations run out of Serbia. A voter database with a US domain name."

He said it was "a good thing" the commissioner was examining the issue but added "it would be helpful" if Ms McDonald addressed questions.

Irish justice minister Helen McEntee said she expected Sinn Fein to respond in a "quick and efficient way" to questions asked of it by the Republic's data protection commissioner.

Irish Labour leader Alan Kelly has also called on Ms McDonald to be fully transparent about her party's activities to ensure the public that Sinn Fein is not carrying out "Cold War-like" profiling on members of the public.

Sinn Fein TD David Cullinane said it was "not reasonable" to ask his party where its voter database was or how it was paid for.

In an interview on WLR FM, Mr Cullinane said any questions about the system were a "ball of smoke" and said the party was in "full compliance" with data protection rules.

His comment came after it emerged the online portal for Sinn Fein's Abu system had been taken down.


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