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Our entire operation at the Observer is online. It’s no secret that we’ve utilized social media to help drive traffic to our news platform and stories.
When we first started out, Facebook was our top referral of readers to our platform. It has now fallen out of favor with us because we rank so high on Google and other news aggregators that are a better return on investment for us.
For almost two years now we’ve had no social media policy regarding user driven comments since we felt Meta (Facebook’s parent company) had adequate policies in place. We also didn’t have the time to devote “policing” online comments on our various social media pages because we welcome dissenting opinions or thoughts.
What we don’t welcome are defamatory statements against any of our journalists, our company, or our family. We don’t welcome disparaging remarks or personal attacks against anyone either.
The statements going around these days I find repulsive. Just yesterday a woman attempted to defame us by writing on our own comment section that we take bribes.
Laughable. In no way do we accept bribes or favors to write articles one way or another. That’s not to say we don’t ever get approached, because we do.
There have been on occasion a few individuals that approach us to write things a certain way or in other times not write them at all in exchange for personal favors or things holding monetary value. These incidents come with the territory and are incredulous in themselves. It is hard not to burst out laughing when they do crop up.
When we say no, in some cases the individuals may become irate and threaten to sue if we publish something a certain way or we publish anything at all. We publish anyway, because we have integrity, plus the threats are empty and reactionary.
All that said, it’s now time to put a social media comment policy in place, and that’s why starting today anyone making defamatory statements against any of our staff, our family, or others will be automatically banned from our social media pages.
We don’t mind differences of opinion, nor do we care if people want to argue political positions on our Facebook page. Dissent is healthy but spreading lies and doing everything in one’s power to hurt another is not, and we won’t be enabling the continuous rise in hostility that’s occurred in Mountain Home’s various social media groups.