Facebook policy for representatives

Rep Tom Reed (R-NY-23)

This official page is intended to be a place for residents of the 23rd Congressional District to comment on current issues facing our nation. Comments that attack or are intended to harass an individual, group, or organization are unacceptable and will be promptly removed. Everyone has a right to express his or her opinion without fear of harassment. Individuals who repeatedly engage in such behavior will be reported to Facebook for Terms of Service violations.

As this is an official page, campaign references must be removed to comply with House Ethics rules. Users who repeatedly violate this rule may be blocked from posting on this page.

Please help us keep this a welcome place for everyone. Thank you.

Rep Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ-5)

The purpose of this page is for Congressman Josh Gottheimer to communicate with the citizens of New Jersey’s Fifth Congressional District regarding matters of federal policy and for [his/her] constituents to provide pertinent feedback regarding those communications. We welcome your comments, however, please note that this is a moderated online discussion site and not a public forum. Comments posted to this page will be monitored. Comments that (i) are unrelated to the purpose of this page or are not topically related to the specifics of the posting, (ii) contain fighting words, graphic or gratuitous violence, vulgar language, profanity, nudity, obscene or indecent language or sexual content, or false representations of fact, (iii) promote or incite illegal or fraudulent transactions or activities, (iv) threaten, intimidate, harass, or defame any person or organization, (v) constitute “spam,” such as content that appears to be from internet bots or repetitive, copy-paste statements, (vi) are commercial in nature, such as advertising, promotion, or endorsement of services or products, or solicitation of funds, (vii) contain personally identifiable information about another individual, (viii) misrepresent the commenter’s identity or affiliation, (ix) contain links to any site [that is unrelated to the topic of the original post], and/or (x) constitute campaign-related communications, electioneering, or fundraising efforts will be removed and may result in the inability of the author to comment on future posts.

Observations:

  • There is a big difference between these two statements.
  • Tom Reed flagrantly disregards his threat to remove offensive material.
  • It isn’t clear if either statement is consistent with House Rules.
  • Josh Gottheimer is known to remove critical comments.
  • All comments, including harsh criticism which is censored, may be valuable to the representative.
  • If criticism is censored, viewers may get a false sense of the representatives popularity.

About whungerford

* Contributor at NewNY23rd.com where we discuss the politics, economics, and events of the New New York 23rd Congressional District (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, (Eastern) Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben,Tioga, Tompkins, and Yates Counties) Please visit and comment on whatever strikes your fancy.
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9 Responses to Facebook policy for representatives

  1. Carol says:

    The official Facebook pages of these reps must be maintained as written as they are official government records, so comments and posts should not be deleted. That doesn’t preclude enforcing the rules against harassment, etc., however, but Reed has never enforced it. A commenter on Reed’s Facebook page posted a call for “everyone please post the names and addresses of libs so we can go take care of them.” The writer of that comment is a retired police officer and routinely harasses people that he disagrees with, as does a Reed follower named Sam, who is extremely verbally abusive. Reed does nothing about it, even when it is reported to his DC office and media person. If anyone sees a comment that crosses the line, please report it to Facebook, and consider also reporting to the police and the FBI.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. whungerford says:

    Thanks, Carol. Do you know a source for official rules? If comments can’t be removed, the represevtatives statements must serve to discourage complaints. Do you think facebook can censor what the congresscritter can’t?

    Like

  3. Tom Loid says:

    I am blocked from Reed’s other page and Gottheimer’s. It is interesting to note that Gottheimer specifically says that his page is not a public forum. Does that give him justification for blocking nonconstituents? I am also blocked from the RealDonaldTrump on Instagram.

    Tom Loid (Zoidal)

    Like

  4. whungerford says:

    An internet search as well as the [his/her] insert in Rep. Gottheimer’s statement shows that this statement is generic and in common use. I haven’t found the original source of it.

    Like

  5. Carol says:

    William, Facebook can take down any post that violates their “community standards,” but 99% of what I have reported they refused to remove. Death threats, etc. are taken seriously, and racist comments sometimes are. In reality, they rarely enforce their standards. https://www.facebook.com/communitystandards/

    Re: the legal requirement that official communications from members of Congress must be retained, I haven’t found a specific reference, but I do know that this has held up in the courts.

    re: Reed blocking constituents from commenting on his official Facebook page, it is not allowed and that has been tested in the courts (Trump Twitter case). Reed’s campaign, however, claims that they can freely block anyone. They would likely lose that case in the courts, however.

    https://www.americanbar.org/groups/crsj/publications/human_rights_magazine_home/the-ongoing-challenge-to-define-free-speech/public-forum-social-media/

    https://www.govtech.com/social/Are-Politicians-Facebook-Comments-Public-Record.html

    https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2017/11/when-officials-tweet-about-government-business-they-dont-get-pick-and-choose-who

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Anonymous says:

    Carol, I think there is a parallel with what happened to protests at shopping centers. No mater how many times the courts upheld the right to protest, businesses had the money to continue to fight against it.

    Like

  7. Anonymous says:

    Reed’s about statement as revised in Sept. 2020– The official Facebook page for Rep. Tom Reed. Follow us to get the latest updates on how Tom is delivering for #NY-23! Sign up for our newsletter here: https://reed.house.gov/forms/emailsignup/

    Like

  8. Carol says:

    If you scroll down further and past his bio and brags in the “About,” the statement re: harassment, etc. is still there. But he has no intention of enforcing it.

    Like

  9. whungerford says:

    Carol informs me that the old about page is still visible on some devices, but not on some PC facebook applications.

    Like

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