To delete or not delete…those negative Facebook comments

From former WSPRA President Lori Blakeslee

As WSPRA president, I try to follow member districts’ Facebook pages and Twitter accounts. The other day as I was viewing my Facebook page, I saw that the Ripon Area School District had posted on Facebook some photos and a short description about a community member who was talking to students about change.

Unfortunately, someone had posted one of those “public schools are harming your children” comments. Rather than ignore it, I decided to add my own comment to counter the negative remarks.

This led to some great questions from Ripon’s Superintendent, Dr. Zimman, about when it is appropriate to delete a comment and whether deleting a comment makes for a bad impression.

Acceptable use policies
If your district does not have an acceptable use policy posted on your Facebook page, I would strongly recommend that you post one.

By having an acceptable use policy, you are within your rights to delete a comment that does not meet the criteria you have posted as being acceptable.

The Green Bay Area Public School District has the following acceptable use policy posted on its Green Bay East High School Facebook page.

The Green Bay Area Public School District East High School Fan page is meant to share information and encourage conversation. We’d love nothing more than for you to share your memories, celebrations, and school experiences via comments, photos, videos, and links here.
Please keep in mind that we are a school district, and students and staff also have access to this information. With that in mind, we review content posted here and will remove anything inappropriate, offensive, not pertaining directly to the district or beneficial to student learning.

Australia’s Business.gov also has a short and concise policy.

Business.gov.au welcomes comments on this Page. Please apply common sense when making comments. If it is something that you would not say or show it at work or school, then we recommend you don’t post it on this Page.

Comments, links, photos and videos deemed inappropriate will be deleted.

We are committed to maintaining your privacy and ask that you respect the privacy of others when posting on our Facebook Page. Inflammatory, defamatory, commercial, spam, overtly party political and comments encouraging activities illegal in Australia or that are detected as transgressing copyright or intellectual property laws will be deleted.

However, some acceptable use policies are much more detailed as to what is considered inappropriate use. The following is from theAustralian Human Right’s Facebook page.

The intent of the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Acceptable Use Policy is to create a positive space where people are able to publicly contribute their views to this page, without fear of abuse, harassment or exposure to offensive or inappropriate content.

When contributing your views, please ensure that you:

– protect your personal privacy and that of others by not including personal information about yourself or about others in your posts, (such as names, email addresses, private addresses, phone numbers or other identifying information);

– represent your own views and not impersonate or falsely represent any other person;

– do not abuse, harass or threaten others;

– do not post anything which: racially or religiously vilifies others, incites, induces, aids, assists, promotes, causes, instructs or permits violence, discrimination, harassment, victimisation or hatred towards others, or is likely to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate others, particularly on the basis of their sex, gender identity, race, colour, descent, national origin, religion, ethnicity, age, sexuality or any disability;

– do not make defamatory or libellous comments;

– do not use insulting, provocative, hateful, obscene or offensive language;

– do not post material that infringes the intellectual property rights of others;

– do not post multiple versions of the same view; and

– do not promote commercial interests in your posts.

Posts that do not comply (or do not appear to comply) with the above points will be moderated or may be removed. Posts may be edited by the moderator for length or to remove unacceptable parts of contributions.

Whether your acceptable use policy is short and concise or long and detailed, as long as you have posted a policy you are then within your rights to delete comments that do not meet your Facebook’s rules of engagement.

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