(CNN) -- Hundreds of people -- including high profile figures from the worlds of politics, TV and film -- have been signed up to a Facebook group offering support to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi without their knowledge.
The "Colonel Gaddafi Support Group" lists Monty Python comedian John Cleese, musician Elvis Costello and academics Camille Paglia and Simon Schama among its members, alongside a host of British politicians and TV personalities.
The page was set up by London-based Claire Khaw, a self-confessed "agent provocateur and Facebook entertainer."
She sparked the ire of hundreds of Facebook users by taking advantage of a change in the site's policy, allowing her to enlist friends to the group without their consent.
Andrew Neil, British political pundit and former editor of the Sunday Times newspaper, reacted furiously on discovering he had been named on the site.
"How do I get out of this absurd group?" he demanded, writing on the page's wall: "Why is it possible you can be made a member without permission?"
But Khaw defended her actions, claiming she was trying to highlight problems with Facebook, including the issue of people adding others to groups without their permission.
"Should your FB friends be allowed to add you to their groups without your knowledge and consent?" she wrote on the page.
"Is it not enough that you can leave group with a click of the button? What if you lack the intelligence and initiative to find the 'leave group' button? Does that not sort of mean that you deserve to stay here forever?"
A spokeswoman for Facebook said the controversy showed the importance of only accepting friend requests from people you know and trust.
"If you accept a person on Facebook as a friend, you are giving them permission to connect with you and do things like add photos of you, or tag you in a video, or add you to a group.
"You can only be added to a group by one of your friends. When a friend adds you to a group, you'll get a notification right away and you can leave a group anytime."