Thinking about Comments on Social Media Content and Facebook Groups

Jeremy Knab • 14 December 2020

Thinking about social media content and the comments that may come.

The social media is taking more time to manage now as we are moderating public discussions which occur on our content. A recommendation is that we must set new expectations for everyone.

Quick Overview

Some people or department-name-here:

  • comment on a post with toxic / troll response
  • comment with their opinion
  • comment with a question
  • want comments about them hidden
  • comment with misinformation
  • post too much information on social media
  • want to hide negative comments
  • are appreciative

The issue is that we are dealing with bigger issues on some of the above statements due to a lack of understanding when social media and government are combined.

We have to manage our expectations and then set a scope to our actions.

Recommended Articles to Review


  • Define goals for our social media accounts. This is a recommended practice.
  • Produce website content schedules.
  • Produce social media schedules.
  • Create posts that drive visitors to a web page to view information.
  • Update guidelines.
  • Train
  • We can't control negative comments about us.

We must review where we are at.

Review Content Posted

Let's review the content posted on Facebook by Chautauqua County Health Department, Erie County Health Dept. vs Cattaraugus County Health Dept.

  • Catt. Co. Health Dept. posts COVID-19 numbers and deaths.
  • Erie Co. Health Dept. posts a various content.
  • Erie Co. Health Dept. posts COVID-19 numbers every day.
  • Erie Co. Health Dept. posts deaths like every-other day.
  • Erie Co. Health Dept. does seem to be hiding posts.
  • Chaut. Co. Health Dept. posts various content.
  • Chaut. Co. HD has not posted COVID-19 numbers since Nov. 30, 2020. SeeĀ
  • Chaut. Co. Health Dept. does seem to be hiding some posts.
  • Chaut. Co. Health Dept. does not comment on opinion posts ... even negative posts.

Create Post Checklist

We should create a helpful checklist for those that are managing social media

  • Define purpose
  • Create headline
  • Is it in the voice of the government entity?
  • It's better with an image. Do you have an image to assist the post?
  • Any hashtags?


Comment Moderation Checklist

The time to manage social media content and comments can be reduced by creating a scope of review by creating a moderation / review checklist.

Please read our current guidelines and best practices as we use a common code of conduct guidelines, see Catt. Co. Social Media Use Guidelines.

Should we create a point system for easier comment moderation? If so then we would reword the questions below.

Comment Review Questions

  1. Is it a question?

    • Is it on topic?
      • A: Yes. Give them an answer.
      • A: No. Be nice and give them a direction.
  2. Is it someone's opinion?

    • A. Yes.
      Action to take: None.
  3. Is it accurate / factual?

    • A: No. The comment is not factual.
      Action to take: Respond to their comment by providing an accurate source.
  4. Does it contain obscenity?

    • A: Yes. There is obscenity in the comment.
      Action to take: Hide it.
  5. Does it contain a direct threat?

    • A: Yes. There is a direct threat.
      Action to take: Hide it.
  6. Does it contain personally identifiable information?

    • A: Yes. Someone has posted personally identifiable information that should not be public.
      Action to take: Hide it.
  7. Are they selling a product or service?

    • A: Yes. They are trying to sell something.
      Action to take: Hide it.

Why can the government hide comments?

... certain categories of speech, including obscenity and direct threats, are not entitled to full protection under the First Amendment. Commercial speech is also subject to different treatment under the law, and can be excluded from a government page. And, of course, privacy laws can be invoked to justify the removal or personally identifiable information ...

Source: Moderating Social Media Comments: Clearing the Confusion,, 2015-06-10

Create a Comment Moderation Policy

Catt. County currently has social media use guidelines (code of conduct) which may be revised and possibly turned into two Catt. County policies; a policy for the public and a policy for the management of social media could be created.

Short-Term Action Plan

Stop Creating Content Posts

Stop creating "content posts" that list all the numbers to social media.

Create Teaser Posts

Create teaser posts that drive visitors to website.

Example COVID-19 Post

From Mrs. Hayes in Tourism

The Health Department is busy with meeting the needs of residents who are sick or quarantined and need every available person for contact tracing so we will no longer be posting the full news release here. So please check the website daily for numbers.

Long-Term Action Plan

We will review moving some Facebook Pages into Facebook Groups.

Create guidelines or, when needed, policies to help employees and the public.


Leave a Comment

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