First I want to thank Adfero Group for the Inspiration for this post asking the question on twitter: “@Adfero How do you feel about Facebook deleting Sarah Palin’s controversial ground zero video?” Here is my answer:
Politically, Palin’s comments are rash generalizations that border upon Racism and go against our country’s founding principals (after all the first people to come to North America where people who wanted religious freedom). It is this type of commentary that widens racial divides in our country. That being said, every bone in my body says that it should be deleted, but that is NOT the correct action.
To answer this question, I draw upon this lesson I learned the hard way. While in college I created and managed the Facebook community for Canton, New York. In this town, sometimes there is tension between the local community and the college community. One day a commenter on the Facebook page made a comment that I deemed inappropriate. It perpetuated stereotypes and generalizations about the St. Lawrence student body. I received an angry email from the poster, who reposted the comment with a little more zest to it. This time I decide to leave it be. To my surprise one of the Canton community members quickly came to the defense of the St. Lawrence Univerisy student body.
The moral of this story is, when an online community is created, negative responses are bound to pop up. You must have faith that the rest of your community will speak up against it.
In the case of comments made by Sarah Palin, by deleting it Facebook has brought more attention to her comments. I myself, was not aware of these comments until I saw the headline “Facebook Apologizes to Palin” on Politico.com. Had the comment been left alone, the comments would have gone quietly away with a few outraged people. Or with enough people speaking out against the comment, the headline would read “People Outraged at Palin’s Facebook Comment.”
The lesson learned, don’t try and protect your community from negative comments. Chances are if you are out raged by a comment, they are too and they will speak out against it.