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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Mike Pence and deleted Facebook comments - who cares?

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:30 AM (#)

We saw a tempest in a teapot last week when Mike Pence's staff deleted comments on the governor's official Facebook page. All I can think is this: Are people really this immature? Who cares?

Obviously, Pence has the right to remove comments that contain name calling, obscenity and personal attacks, or are potentially libelous. In fact, Facebook pages must abide by Facebook's community standards, so the page owner has an obligation to police comments on his/her page. That said, comments that are civil and merely express disagreement with the governor's political position should not be removed.

But really, is this a national scandal? No. Is it a statewide scandal? No. The governor's staff got a little too aggressive in removing comments on his Facebook fan page. That's all. The situation has been corrected and Pence has said that civil comments that simply disagree with his position will not be removed. No one's civil rights were violated.

Let me bottom line this for you: You do not have the right to comment on anyone else's Facebook page, blog, forum, newspaper comment section or any other website. The administrator is the dictator of the site and maintains absolute authority over content posted there. This is the way of the Web, so get used to it. Government officials should be more open to dissent on their official pages in the interest of serving the public, but it is still their page, not yours.

Some of the hysterical reactions to the deletions are simply laughable. The "Pencership" website claims that the governor thinks he can "censor the web" - despite the fact that no one's personal Facebook profile, Twitter page, blog etc. was affected. The Indiana Civil Liberties Union suggested that the deletions are "unconstitutional." Seriously?

Bottom line: It's Facebook. No one cares that your comment was deleted. Stop acting like a drama queen.

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