Offensive language to blame for Facebook warning: Council

UPDATE: Toowoomba Regional Council says comments relating to overseas councillor delegations are not to blame for a threat to block a Toowoomba resident from its Facebook page.

Donna Brown believes a post she made on the Toowoomba Region Facebook page relating to a Chronicle story on a council trip to New Zealand led to a warning message from a council Facebook administrator.

Coordinator communications Bekki, sent an inbox message to Ms Brown which read: "Hi Donna, we appreciate that you're upset, however our Facebook page is a place to share what's happening in the community and to share your thoughts."

The message continued: "Your comment breaches our community guidelines (available in our about section). Your comment has been hidden and if negative comments continue, you may be blocked from the site."

The Chronicle understands the administrator took issue with a post labelling Toowoomba Mayor Paul Antonio as "pathetic" which may be in breach of the guidelines and that led to the message being sent.

Ms Brown has been involved in an ongoing dispute with the council regarding drainage in Kingsthorpe.

Toowoomba Regional Council chief executive officer Brian Pidgeon said the council encouraged feedback from the community and had established a variety of means to foster authentic two-way conversations between the council and residents.

"Social media is one of those platforms. 

"Council's community guidelines for social media are designed to keep the conversation fair, equitable and relevant."

The guidelines state: "We want everyone to have a positive experience, so that means no offensive language, naming and shaming, trolling, bullying, or spamming.  If your post violates these Community Guidelines, it will be deleted and you may be blocked from our social communities."

Mr Pidgeon as said part of ongoing monitoring and administration of the council's social media sites, any person who breached the community guidelines could be sent a message reminding them of the guidelines and outlining that consistent breaches may result in being blocked from its social communities.

"An opinion relating to the council's sister city overseas trips that complies with council's community guidelines for social media would not be removed or trigger a warning email," he said.

EARLIER: A Toowoomba woman has been threatened with a ban from the Toowoomba Regional Council Facebook page purportedly because of a comment relating to councillor overseas trips.

A council administrator hid a comment linking to a Toowoomba Chronicle report relating to a fifth rate-payer funded overseas trip which was endorsed on Wednesday.

Donna Brown posted a link to The Chronicle's post here, and was told it was in breach of the council's official Facebook page's - known as Toowoomba Region - community guidelines.

The administrator, coordinator communications Bekki, sent an inbox to Ms Brown: "Hi Donna, we appreciate that you're upset, however our Facebook page is a place to share what's happening in the community and to share your thoughts."

The message continued: "Your comment breaches our community guidelines (available in our about section). Your comment has been hidden and if negative comments continue, you may be blocked from the site."

Ms Brown had earlier posted "I see on The Chronicle that our councillors are going on the fifth overseas trip and yet still no word from (the council) on paying for damage to my yard as per the letter of demand I have sent.

"They can afford to go overseas but can't pay for the $8000 repair to my yard.

"Pathetic, Paul Antonio you should be ashamed."

Ms Brown understands the message was sent after she posted a link to an article titled "Councillors cry of 'media beat-up' on overseas trips" which outlined the vote to endorse a council delegation to Whanganui, New Zealand on Wednesday.

During that meeting Cr Anne Glasheen accused the media of "beating up" coverage of overseas trips and Cr Nancy Sommerfield advised the councillors to ignore "sensationalism".

The delegation to New Zealand is the fifth overseas trip planned this year.

Polling shows the number of planned trips is unpopular in the community, with 82% of residents voting "no" to the question: Should councillors take five overseas trips in one year?

The council's guidelines on its Facebook page state: "We want everyone to have a positive experience, so that means no offensive language, naming and shaming, trolling, bullying, or spamming.

"If your post violates these Community Guidelines, it will be deleted and you may be blocked from our social communities.

"We'll also remove any political campaigning, commentary and unrelated comments."

Our coverage

Community response to Chronicle article

Peter Terrill: Crs Sommerfield and Glasheen, you're wrong.

The community does not see your overseas trips as productive or fact-finding. We view the trips as junkets, period!

These trips need to be highlighted when council tries to justify rate rises.

Rai Akers: It'll not pass the pub test.

If they really can justify five trips in five months and can't see there's any problem with this, then they are more out of touch than ratepayers might think.

Gayle Miller: I think The Chronicle is actually very soft on our out of touch councillors. There is a lot more that could be reported.

The new Bold magazine is also a waste of money - gives plenty of publicity to councillors but is not value for money for ratepayers.

Judith Ann Jefferys: It's not that I have an issue with fact finding missions away that would create more prosperity for the Toowoomba region.

But I do question how many trips are needed and how many councillors have to go to get the same facts. Surely one or two would be plenty.

And then I'd like to see the results of these trips listed publicly.

I want to know how much money was spent, what special facts were gained that will benefit our community.

Of course I am to assume our councillors have been especially invited to attend special occasions wherever they visit and not going just to have a peek here and there and have a nice time.

Go if you must TRC but I want to know what was achieved and how this can be applied to improve our community.

And was the money worth it. Economy seats?

Should councillors take five overseas trips in one year?

This poll ended on 08 June 2017.

Current Results

Yes

18%

No

81%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

 

 



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