Yes - 46%

  • Anything owned or operated by a public agency is subject to the public through open records. There may be some validity to deleting posts of a profane or offensive nature, but not just because the agency doesn’t like the comment(s).
  • If it’s the Internet, it’s public. If I can post it for anyone to see, it’s public.
  • If the government agency opens up the page for public comment, then they really can’t complain about the comments. One way around this would be for comments to be submitted to a “moderator” who could choose which comments to post; then the public could not have an expectation that every comment would get posted.
  • If you set up a page to allow comments by users, you have made it so. Once you have done that you can’t pick and choose. If you want to avoid negative comments and only use the page for information distribution and PR, then set it up that way!
  • My tax dollars pay for it!
  • If they have established a public social network page forum, then it is open to both positive and negative comments, and according to open records acts it should not delete public information. If government agencies can investigate citizens’ network pages during a so-called investigation, than they are open to the same rules. They are not above the law!
  • If it’s paid for with public funds, then it’s the people’s site.

No - 49%

  • First, it excludes those (yes, they do exist) that have chosen not to patronize Facebook. Second, it is an absolutely self-selected sample with only those most interested or involved participating.
  • Can a person go to a public forum bulletin board located in town hall and thumbtack any message they want on it and expect it to stay there? I don’t think so.
  • Public agencies should have the right to delete any and all content. Public agencies are not required by law to have social media websites. Would a city/county/etc. council allow an individual the right to “hijack” public meetings without requiring a certain amount of decorum? Process ... keeps order. If someone wants to post a nasty comment about a public entity, they should use their own social media accounts to do so.
  • A non-obscene comment has a right to be posted as a matter of free speech, but there is no obligation to keep it posted. Cities and towns don’t have budgets or time to develop complex rules, etc., to define these things. These pages have been developed as a courtesy, to get information out, but not for keeping ALL outside comments posted.
  • I believe a “public forum” to be open to the entire community, and social media does not provide that.
  • If a private party has a right to delete comments why wouldn’t any other page owner?
  • Facebook is not a public forum in the defined sense of “public forums.” A member of the public chooses to join that agency’s page, whether as a “friend” or as “liking” it. Once they do that, they are governed by Facebook’s privacy policy — NOT the government’s.
  • Not enough people participate in Facebook.

I don’t know - 6%

  • We set up a Facebook page as an additional method of informing the public, and meant it to be used more like a physical bulletin board. At the time it was set up, we did not have an official website. Posts and comments that had expired did get deleted so that anyone visiting the page would have only the most current information. We did, however, print a copy of the page before deleting posts and comments so we do have a record on file.
  • In the case of Facebook, if you have to request permission to see the content, then it may not be truly a “public” forum.