Plano Councilman Calls Controversial Facebook Share Accidental

Two days after Plano’s city council voted to order a recall election for Councilman Tom Harrison, Harrison’s supporters are claiming the Facebook share that led to that moment was not intentional.

The post in question was one Harrison shared in February that said, “Share if you think Trump should ban Islam in American schools.” The post was shared from a Facebook group called "Joined Hands Across America for Trump."

Videos shared Wednesday by Harrison supporter and spokesperson Allan Samara show Harrison with social media expert Cindy Baccus. In about four minutes worth of YouTube clips, Baccus explains how she believes Harrison inadvertently shared the post along with several others referenced by council in recent meetings.

“As soon as you start moving your thumb to look at the actual information, you’re going to be clicking on 'share,' 'share,' 'share,' 'share…' all of these share buttons, and that’s how it got shared,” said Baccus as Harrison scrolled through his Facebook feed

It's a change in position for Harrison who shared an apology for the post at the end of March saying in part, "I want to sincerely apologize to the Plano Muslim community for the unintentional hurt I caused by reposting something on my personal Facebook page that wrongfully implied I am anti-muslim. My intent on inputting this on my personal Facebook page was to emphasize that Christianity is not the only religion being targeted for exclusion in our public school." 

As recently as Monday Harrison said, "I think it's my right to share and say whatever I want to say from the first amendment. That's for number one. Number two, am I sorry I did it? Probably." 

Another local social media expert says she’s never seen accidental sharing happen among her clients.

“My first though actually was I laughed about the situation. You know, we manage a lot of social media, a lot of arguably higher profile people than someone who’s in Plano, and this has never happened to any of those people. It’s also never happened to any of our brands,” said owner of It Crowd Marketing Lindsey Harrison.

Lindsey Harrison went on to say sharing anything within Facebook or from Facebook is a two step process.

“If you’re ever sharing something within Facebook or any other platform, it automatically asks you are you sure that you want to share this? Or how would you like to share this?” said Lindsey Harrison.

When asked about those claims, Samara said Baccus assures them its not true when it comes to the ad Harrison shared, saying it contained a hidden button that shared the content as Harrison swiped past the post on his feed.

NBC 5 has reached out to Facebook to ask whether that’s possible but has not heard back.

Councilman Harrison's supporters are calling Baccus's claims 'exoneration' for Harrison, saying they believe this will put an end to the recall election. 

Texas election code states signatures cannot be withdrawn from a petition once it's submitted to the city. A city spokesperson said there's no way the vote to hold a recall election can be reversed at this point. That election's scheduled for November 6th. 

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