Gov’t FB Pages: Allow Fans to Post or Not?

Here’s a discussion from a gov’t web managers listserv.

The original question was: should gov’t Facebook pages allow people to post?

Screen shot of a FB page highlighting where people post and comment I want to be very clear: I interpreted this question as being about posts – where they start a whole new item: text, photos, videos, links, etc.  I’m emphatically NOT talking about accepting comments.  To me, that’s a non-discussion: you absolutely must accept comments, good and bad, in accordance with a published comment policy.  For example, EPA’s is here.

In the image above, I’m discussing allowing people to use what’s in the red box at the top of the page, not the “comment” link or “write a comment” in the green boxes.

At EPA, we welcome comments on our main page, but don’t allow people to post their own stuff.

There are plenty of places for them to make their points, including commenting on our posts.  We don’t need to give them a platform.

I disagree that not allowing them to post is the same thing as any other Web page.  Other Web pages don’t allow comments, aren’t shareable, and aren’t in a network of 500 million people.

Plenty of interaction happens without allowing people to put whatever they see fit on your branded page.

I think of it this way: a social media presence is like a booth at a shopping mall.  You’re there so they can see you as people vs. an institution, you talk to people, you listen to what they say, they can hear each other’s ideas, and you catch casual conversations among people all around you whether they’re talking directly to you or not.  You might even hold a public discussion, where you put out a question and then invite people to share their thoughts.

But you don’t allow people to plaster their posters all over your booth and you don’t hand them the microphone unchecked for 3  hours to say anything on any topic.

What do you think?  What does your agency do?

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