Friday, 6 February 2015

Freedom of speech for some, defamatory comments for others.

Moderating social media pages can be a real challenge. It is always a struggle keeping a balance between free discourse and keeping the conversation civil. You'd think the Liberal Party of Victoria, being the party of free speech, would encourage such robust discussions. Apparently not...

A friend of mine commented on this creative zinger of an image on Liberal Victoria's Facebook page. Instead of including the words "shit" and/or "andrews", he decided that "broken promises" was "Just like voting for Abbott".

Unfortunately, this fairly benign comment was ruled out of bounds and, rather chillingly, "disappeared".

I thought I would give it a try, so I said something similar. Well, I was just as unlucky as my friend. Like a Latin American dissenter, my comment was disappeared at some point overnight. No witnesses. The sneaky bastards, the writer of the post can't see that he or she has been disappeared, only, one only knows by visiting the Liberal Victoria page as someone else.


So much for free speech! Alas, they've kept the lovely (and possibly defamatory) bottom comment freely available for all to see - along with many other similar ones. Also appearing until very recently was this lovely non sequitur comment: "While u idiots keep kissing Mus lim butt". That one is now, thankfully, gone.

Of course social media debate gets colourful. The vitriol directed at Abbott on Labor and anti-LNP pages can be very strong. But the fact that the Liberal Party's social media minions chose to "disappear" two fairly benign comments and let other derogatory remarks stand says a lot about the party. It is the job of these media minions to ensure civil debate, not silencing of opposing viewpoints. Of course the fact that the notional party of free speech chose to disappear comments in the first place is something worth considering...

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