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MONROEVILLE (KDKA) – Facebook is a tool to communicate information, but Tuesday night Monroeville council voted to disable citizen comments on its Facebook page.
“Council wants to make sure that factual information is getting out onto the Facebook and non-misleading information is getting out on the Facebook, and they’re concerned the residents are not going to get factual information,” Monroeville municipal manager Tim Little told KDKA political editor Jon Delano on Wednesday.
Delano: “Because people are posting wrong information in the comment section?”
The decision brought an immediate outcry from a former school board member whose comments, he says, were deleted.
“If Monroeville feels that it’s a good medium to use to get information out to the community, I don’t see why they don’t believe it’s a two-way street,” said Chad Stubenbort, former president of the Gateway School Board.
Stubenbort says government officials should engage with citizens who post information.
“If a poster is posting false information, they’re obviously entitled to, which they did in previous posts to engage with them and show accurate information,” Stubenbort said. “We’re in a day and age where everything is recorded, everyone is quoted. If there is misinformation out there, it’s very easy to show the truth.”
But Little says that would require a full-time employee.
“We don’t have the staff to be monitoring all the social media that we could have,” Little said.
Councilman Greg Erosenko voted to disable the comment section because, he says, the person in charge of Monroeville’s Facebook page cannot correct the bad information.
“If the person that was in charge of our Facebook page had all the information that I would carry as a councilman, probably wouldn’t have been an issue,” Erosenko said. “But that’s not the case. She’s just our IT director, OK? She’s not in on all the decision-making that we make.”
Erosenko says anyone with comments should contact council members directly.
“How hard is it to send us an email?” Erosenko said.