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What We Think

1 Aug 2012
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The Social Element

Facebook seems to have thrown its moderators and community managers yet another unannounced curve ball, and you can’t hide Facebook comments any more.  When moderating, the old ‘hide’ option has disappeared, both from a comment left on a wall ‘post by other’ or a comment made upon a Page post update. You may only delete it and then – immediately afterwards –  have the option to un-delete.  Update 2 August – According to InsideFacebook, Facebook say it is a bug and they are working on it.  Let’s hope it is, and they fix it soon.

Interestingly though, Facebook now offers the option to ban/unban and message the user directly from the comment … see the screen grabs below.

 

Once they’re gone, they’re gone

The removed posts are not showing up as the ‘little row of dots’ in the commenting either – so once they are gone, although you can choose to immediately undo your action, they leave no trace of your moderation action.

 

Spam ‘auto-hides’ unaffected

However, it seems that when FB decides a comment is spam and auto-hides it, we can then still view the hidden comments and unhide them again if we choose.

 

Why that’s a problem for us

This may not be important to some, but it is for our moderation and community management teams for two reasons:

Firstly, it’s crucial to be able to justify our each and every action to a client and reverse it if there is disagreement – which is one reason why the ‘hide’ function was so important. Now, unless our clients have opted to use a third party tool to moderate their Facebook Page (and we recommend this), moderators will have to laboriously record the content and timing of each and every user post we deem to have fallen foul of the Page terms in order to give us the audit trail and quality assurance that our reputation is built on. This severely impacts the number of comments a moderator can get through on a shift.

Secondly, the ‘hide’ function was important as when it was used, the user posting – and their friends – could still see the comment and were not aware it had been hidden.  Especially useful for crisis situations where to delete / not to delete may make all the difference to public sentiment, this gives our clients time to be consulted on whether they wanted a comments to be visible to the public or not.

 

Thanks for letting us know, Facebook

A quick Google search on the issue reveals no other articles on the topic at the time of writing, which confirms our feeling that this has been rolled out without any kind of announcement.  Obviously Facebook wouldn’t have listened to the concerns of community managers – when do they ever? – but some forewarning, description of, and justification for the change would have been appreciated.

 

Moderating comments in Facebook – it works the same from the front end of the activity log, basically.

1.  Hover above the ‘x’ in the top right of a comment

 

2. Delete the comment, and Facebook gives you further options to undo/report/ban/message user

 

3.  If you choose to message the user, here’s the screen:

4.  Although, this function didn’t seem to be working too well at the time of testing – we either got the ‘report it’ screen or a failure notification.