Are you censoring your online community?

Image by flickr user webtreats.

Image by flickr user webtreats.

Recently I had this conversation with a client:

Client: “I’m so upset. I had the worst feedback posted on my Facebook wall the other day.”

Me: “And how did you handle that?”

Client: “Oh, I took care of it. It’s deleted and the person who wrote it has been banned from the page.”

Me: *cringe*

Deleting comments instead of thoughtfully and professionally responding to them is bad form. So I asked the question on my Facebook wall to see if others felt the same way. Some people responded with things like “My wall, my rules,” but for the most part people agreed that it’s better to address the issue and take the opportunity to turn the situation around…

What I thought was really exceptional in this 33 comment thread was that there really were different opinions being shared – but no one was attacking anyone else. No one tried to censor or stifle anyone else and I didn’t delete any comments I didn’t agree with. People were actually talking through their different opinions and approaches and really enjoying the conversation:



Not to put anyone on blast – this whole online communication/social media thing is still new to a lot of businesses. A good rule of thumb is to react the same way you would if someone called you directly with a complaint about your store. How would you respond? Hopefully with the best possible customer service. Hopefully you’re not ignoring your customers like what happened here with Tutti Frutti:

Leslie left this comment on their wall over a month ago, with no response:

In fact, they haven’t responded to any of the comments on their wall; nor do they have the community comments as their default wall tab. With this being a local franchise with under 1,000 fans, there’s really no excuse for ignoring your customers online. How do you think Tutti Frutti should have responded?

Unsure about how to monitor your Facebook business page without censoring your community?  Here are some general rules of thumb:

  • Don’t remove comments unless they are inappropriate (graphic nudity, profanity, etc.) or intentionally and inaccurately slanderous.
  • Note: someone making a complaint about an experience with your company is not slanderous – it’s a great chance to turn the situation around!
  • Respond to all comments – especially the negative ones.
  • Don’t default to the “just my comments” tab. You’re cultivating a community here, not a one-way broadcasting system.
  • Let your customers know that you value them, after all – you do need them, right?