Our most popular post! Updated January 12, 2021
Should you ever hide Facebook posts?
When you are managing Facebook pages, it is likely you will have to answer this question. In the process of managing Facebook pages for numerous organizations, we’ve had to take action a number of times. Some comments should be ignored. Some comments deserve a response. Others should be hidden or deleted. What should you do? Here are four comment types from our channel management experience and potential actions you can take to handle on your company pages.
Comment Type Number 1: Negative
This type of comment is critical or negative but is relevant to the reputation of the organization. It may involve an unhappy customer or a comment about a policy or process of the company. For this type of comment, it’s important to do three things, verify, escalate, resolve.
First, verify that the comment comes from a real person or real organization by clicking through to the commenters’ Facebook profile. If it appears real, the next step would be to escalate to your client or internal management team to develop an answer. Finally, create and post the response. See more about actions to take in the final section.
Comment Type Number 2: Irrelevant
This type of comment is also critical of the organization but is different in that it is irrelevant to the post. This requires a more subtle answer. If you respond too quickly or with a formal statement, you might uncover a bully or troll waiting to engage. Monitoring additional comments for a few hours is the first action you should take. If you have loyal and engaged fans on that page, they might chime in and redirect the conversation.
If that doesn’t happen, hide the comment — only the commenter and their friends see it. This action is reversible, so you can change your mind if you have hidden the comment by accident.
To consider deleting the post or comment takes a little more time and thought. If it’s a “drive-by” commenter that may or may not return, we sometimes wait 48-72 hours and if no further action comes from this type of commenter, we then consider deleting it. This action cannot be undone.
Comment Type Number 3: Unreasonable
This type of comment is often rude and inflamed. It might go right up to the brink of Comment Type Number 4 below. In this scenario, we spend extra time monitoring the post and other comments on it to see the progression of the conversation. There are three different actions you can take: hide the comment, delete the post or ban the user. The strategy leading up to the actions on this type of comment are similar to that for irrelevant comments.
Comment Type Number 4: Violates Policy
Whether it’s a violation of Facebook’s terms of service or a violation of YOUR social media policy, this type of comment includes , hate speech, name-calling or swearing. It can also be a post in which another person or page tries to sell something on your page. This is unacceptable for many company pages and should be deleted. If the post or comment has gotten widespread views before it’s been deleted, it might merit an explanation about why it was removed (not as important today as it was when we first wrote this post in 2015). This will enhance the company’s engagement and integrity with fans, but if it’s disgusting or pornographic, no explanation should be necessary and deleting and banning the user makes the channel managers’ job easier as these types of posters tend to be repeat offenders.
Actions You Can Take and Why
There are four actions you can take to monitor problem comments on your page.
We recommend responding to comments that are negative, yet sincere. They reflect a real issue, from a real person and in responding, you hope to have a real dialogue with a potential customer who needs help.
We recommend hiding comments when the comment is irrelevant or unreasonable (Comment Types 2 and 3) and certainly if you need to research a person or comment and don’t want other fans to pile on. When you hide a comment, it can be reversed. The additional advantage of hiding comments is that you can reference it on the back end of Facebook if you need to show or report on the actions taken.
We recommend deleting when it’s completely irrelevant. We manage a page for tourism destination and people come onto their pages and try to post sales for windows and home improvement and lots of unrelated things. They’re not harmful, but we don’t need to keep a record of those. We also recommend deleting when it’s really horrible, hateful language. (PS – always screenshot before deleting in case you need to track “repeat offenders.”)
When a person or channel repeatedly spams the page with irrelevant comments, disgusting or violent posts, we have a three strikes policy. After three repeated comments, we ban the person from the page. We use this when someone is trying to attack the page by posting the same comment repeatedly on every post. This also keeps others from piling on to someone else’s vitriol.
Smart channel managers know that managing your Facebook community includes making judgement calls on how to respond to comments by a wide variety of fans. Next time you get a comment that is critical, irrelevant, unreasonable or is a clear violation of policy, try these ideas. Let us know how it worked by leaving a comment.