(CNN) – The Republican National Committee stepped up its efforts Tuesday to use social networking technologies that Barack Obama’s presidential campaign has effectively embraced in order to criticize the presumptive Democratic nominee as the campaign heads into the final 100 days.
BarackBook.com, the RNC’s new Web site parodies Facebook.com, the popular social networking site where Obama currently has 1.2 million supporters. The RNC says that Obama has seven “friends” on the parody site including convicted Chicago businessman Antoin “Tony” Rezko and William Ayers, a member of the Weather Underground during the 1970’s.
In addition to a feed page displaying activity between Obama and his “friends,” the RNC site also includes a page featuring YouTube videos about Obama, a page that facilitates donations to the RNC, an RSS feed of information from GOP.com, among other pages.
BarackBook.com is free-standing outside of Facebook but the site includes a link to the page of the RNC’s official Facebook group and a link to an application that duplicates the RNC’s parody site within the confines of Facebook.
“This is an interactive way to learn more about Obama’s poor judgment,” RNC spokesman Alex Conant said in a statement Tuesday. “Obama’s judgment is an issue in this election, and this site will help us highlight some of Obama’s noteworthy ‘friends.’”
The Obama campaign sees the new RNC site differently. “For comment on the new RNC site, I’d refer you to their own discussion board, specifically the topic ‘The site is lame,’” said an e-mail from Tommy Vietor of the Obama campaign, making a reference to comments posted on Facebook about the BarackBook application.
In recent days, both Obama and John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, have increased efforts to connect with supporters in on-line social networking environments. The McCain campaign recently launched “McCain Nation,” a space on the campaign’s Web site that facilitates grassroots organizing by supporters by allowing them to create and find events involving other McCain supporters. Since mid-June, the McCain campaign has also launched at least four separate applications on Facebook - a video tour of McCain’s bus, a video game, a virtual yard sign, and an application that allows users to view a McCain campaign advertisement.
The Obama campaign’s original Facebook application is credited with helping to build a large base of support on the social networking site. The campaign recently launched a Facebook second application that allows supporters on the popular social networking site to set up grassroots organizing events such as meetings, fundraisers, voter registration activities, phone banks, or community service.
Obama currently has a wide lead over McCain in terms of support on Facebook. Obama has 1.2 million supporters while McCain has 183,000 on the site.