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Facebook Adopts ‘Community Standards’ – Have You?

[By Thom Fladung/Hennes Communications]

Facebook recently revealed what content it’s going to allow its users to post – and what’s not allowed.

If you have social media channels like a Facebook page that invites comments or a website or some other digital platform where people can comment, you should do the same.

The Bay Area News Group’s Patrick May dives into the details of Facebook’s move in a well-done story.  May writes: “Hoping to unpack one of the great mysteries of our time – why Facebook bans some content, but not others – the social-media giant on Tuesday (April 24) shared with the world ‘what is and is not allowed on Facebook.’ And it only took them 27 pages to do so.”

Your rules of conduct or guidelines for use of your interactive media shouldn’t be a mystery to your customers, business partners or anyone else interested in your organization. And we promise it won’t take you 27 pages to do so.

Here’s the deal: The First Amendment may be our greatest invention as a country. It’s worth repeating: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

Beautiful, forceful and a bulwark of our democracy.

It also has nothing to do with establishing rules of conduct on your Facebook page or website. And why do you want those rules? Because you don’t want (we strongly assume) people spreading hate speech, or racism or misogyny on your pages. You don’t want people personally attacking your employees – or anyone else – on your Facebook page. You don’t want them using profanity.

So, tell them that. And when they do it, remove the post. But tell everybody why you removed that offending post, with a link to those terms of use or guidelines. We suggest putting your rules in the “About” section on your Facebook page and in a similarly logical place on your website.

An important caveat: We’re not talking about removing posts that express an opinion with which you disagree or posts that criticize you or your organization. Do that with great care. Because we can promise you that someone will have taken a screenshot of your page with the critical comment. That screenshot will be posted across social media – with the note that this has been removed because you can’t take legitimate criticism. And now you have a new reputational problem.

But what if the post violates your reasonable rules of conduct? You don’t let people come to your house and jump on the couches (again, we strongly assume). Because it’s your house and your rules.  Just make sure you have rules for your website and social media sites as well.

Want to learn more about how best to use social media? Or see some examples of effective terms of use? Contact Hennes Communications at 216-321-7774 or


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