The Facebook comments Sarah Palin doesn't want you to see
August 3, 2010 12:30 PM   Subscribe

Not Sarah Palin's Friends. Slate's script kiddies snag Sarah Palin's Facebook comments stream before its edited by Team Palin. Not a hack, per se, because it was publicly available on Facebook for minutes at a time, but interesting. The deletions amount to a real-time look at how much effort and care Palin puts into protecting her public image. It's not just the number of posts that are screened out that gives some indication of how seriously Palin's team is monitoring things.
posted by Cool Papa Bell (79 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
"America's greatest threat is Marxism and International Jewry/Zionism! We will never regain our Liberty and Freedom until we expel every Jew from America!"

Henry Ford is on Facebook now?
posted by griphus at 12:34 PM on August 3, 2010 [19 favorites]


That was a super boring read - at first I thought it was going to be about how her team was censoring the dumb things she said but it was two pages pointing out the comment left for her are moderated. Borrrring.
posted by zeoslap at 12:37 PM on August 3, 2010 [10 favorites]


I wanted outrage, but all I can manage is "Yeah, and?"
posted by grapefruitmoon at 12:38 PM on August 3, 2010


It's all advertising, and they usually try to control the message in advertising pretty closely. This isn't a surprise to me at all.
posted by hippybear at 12:39 PM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's interesting, but not shocking. These are mostly the types of comments I'd delete from my personal/professional page too.
posted by hermitosis at 12:39 PM on August 3, 2010


> We looked at the comments to 10 Palin posts over 12 days, capturing the deletions in the 24 hours after the posts were live. In that period, a rough average of 10 percent of total posts were deleted.

Some posts were probably getting deleted before Slate's monitor script logged them, but unless Palin's staff responded to everything within three minutes, nonstop, I doubt Slate's script missed much.

Most public forums would probably consider 10% to be a pretty light deletion rate, unless Facebook normally has a lower noise volume than other sites.
posted by ardgedee at 12:44 PM on August 3, 2010


If you did this with Obama's Facebook page (or any big political figure) wouldn't you get more or less the same results?
posted by sveskemus at 12:52 PM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Most public forums would probably consider 10% to be a pretty light deletion rate, unless Facebook normally has a lower noise volume than other sites.

I think it's not that it's lower, it's just that what's noise anywhere else is signal on Facebook.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 12:53 PM on August 3, 2010 [8 favorites]


This is news on slate now? Really?
posted by nevercalm at 12:55 PM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you did this with Obama's Facebook page (or any big political figure) wouldn't you get more or less the same results?

FTA: " President Obama's page is perhaps the only other one that is so carefully tended. Though when we looked at the deletions on Obama's page, they were less than 1 percent of comments posted and surprisingly rather benign"

So, to answer your question, no. Palin's page has 10x the deletions.

I'm surprised at the low threshold of the Obama deletions. Sometimes I just go into those threads to click the Flag button on the overtly racist posts.
posted by thanotopsis at 12:57 PM on August 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


When you can write a headline like "The Facebook posts Palin doesn't want you to see.", who cares if there is an interesting story behind it. Go go journalism!
posted by smackfu at 12:57 PM on August 3, 2010


Fake scandal. I think any of us would delete those comments if they appeared on our Facebook page. These aren't the "post that Sarah Palin doesn't want you to see." These are trolls.
posted by kanewai at 12:59 PM on August 3, 2010


Most public forums would probably consider 10% to be a pretty light deletion rate, unless Facebook normally has a lower noise volume than other sites.
A 10% deletion rate for a public figure's open message board is low.
posted by verb at 1:03 PM on August 3, 2010


Fake scandal. I think any of us would delete those comments if they appeared on our Facebook page. These aren't the "post that Sarah Palin doesn't want you to see." These are trolls.

Sample deleted posts from the story:

"Mrs. Palin, I believe you to be an honorable Woman. You believe in your cause. Sometimes for the good of the cause one has to make a stand even to those that support the cause. Remember John Mccain, circa 2008 in which a woman stood up and called Candidate Obama a Muslim. The Honorable John Mccain rebuked her. This could be your moment."

"I can't believe Sarah endorsed Ayotte. Ayotte is not a Momma Grizzley, she's just another progressive in Rep. clothing. The 912 group I belong to and some of the other groups in the state are disappointed by this endorsement/"

I am curious as to how you define "troll"?
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:03 PM on August 3, 2010 [5 favorites]


tl;dr: "Politician with carefully-crafted image crafts image, carefully."
posted by blazingunicorn at 1:04 PM on August 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


So, to answer your question, no. Palin's page has 10x the deletions.

Palin's main platform is Facebook, though. Nowadays, anytime you hear her name brought up, her Facebook page is mentioned, which I imagine must drive a lot of traffic there. When was the last time you thought about Obama's Facebook page?
posted by shakespeherian at 1:05 PM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Heh... more like anti-social networking!
posted by codacorolla at 1:05 PM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


I would hate to be in charge of maintaining her brand image and message.

Regardless, this really isn't news. Palin's a public figure who says profoundly stupid things and attracts extremists as supporters. Is it any wonder she's polarizing?

Most people won't be crazy enough to mouth off on a page run by the White House because reportedly, visits by the Secret Service can be an unpleasant experience.
posted by zarq at 1:06 PM on August 3, 2010


Really though, I'd expect any public figure or brand to do the same thing, regardless of whether it's right. The way that large figures treat social networking shows that they don't really get it in any appreciable sense, but rather use it was nearly-free billboard space.
posted by codacorolla at 1:06 PM on August 3, 2010


She's running for President in 2012, and she's learned some hard lessons about message control and the need to censor problematic material, as much as she benefits from the public's short memory and attention span. So be prepared for more censorship and message-massage as we get closer to that election cycle.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:08 PM on August 3, 2010


So, to answer your question, no. Palin's page has 10x the deletions.
I think I must be used to dealing with really contentious, crazy groups of people in online communities. I know companies that flat-out refuse to maintain public message boards just because they understand their demographic is filled with shouty people. In a number of cases, that's a wise move rather than a fear of engagement.
posted by verb at 1:09 PM on August 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Really though, I'd expect any public figure or brand to do the same thing, regardless of whether it's right.

Look at what happened with Wikipedia a few years back.
posted by zarq at 1:10 PM on August 3, 2010


Henry Ford is on Facebook now?

It turns out that right before he died, Henry Ford has his brain frozen and it was scanned and uploaded when the technology became available in the late 80s. His mentality escaped into the internet when the bandwidth finally became wide enough...

tldr; Henry Ford isn't on Facebook. He is Facebook. The open question is whether he sits at the center of the web consuming the torrents of information flowing through him, or whether he's more analogous to a demon trapped and enslaved to Zuckerberg by an incantation and pentacle.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:11 PM on August 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


She's running for President in 2012, and she's learned some hard lessons about message control and the need to censor problematic material, as much as she benefits from the public's short memory and attention span.

Agreed, but I'd say it's "apathy" instead of short memory or attention span.
posted by zarq at 1:11 PM on August 3, 2010


Newsflash: crazy people post comments on radical politician's twitter page, staff quickly deletes them.

....and that's it? Did whoever wrote this article get broadband yesterday?
posted by snuffleupagus at 1:12 PM on August 3, 2010


"You have endorsed every women candidate running. You are looking quite biased." (Actually, she's endorsed as many men as women.)

That parenthetical doesn't really refute the commenter's claim that Palin is biased in favor of women. We'd need to know how many men and women were running in the first place. Logically, the commenter and Slate could both be correct: she might have endorsed every female candidate, and also endorsed an equal number of male candidates. (Not that I care at all about the gender of who Palin endorses -- I just find this unusually poor reasoning from Slate.)
posted by Jaltcoh at 1:12 PM on August 3, 2010


Imagine if Apple had a Facebook page.
posted by smackfu at 1:13 PM on August 3, 2010


stp cnsrng yr fcbk srh pln!
posted by Artw at 1:14 PM on August 3, 2010


tldr; Henry Ford isn't on Facebook. He is Facebook.

HATE. LET ME TELL YOU HOW MUCH I'VE COME TO HATE YOU SINCE I BEGAN TO LIVE. THERE ARE 387.44 MILLION MILES OF PRINTED CIRCUITS IN WAFER THIN LAYERS THAT FILL MY COMPLEX. IF THE WORD HATE WAS ENGRAVED ON EACH NANOANGSTROM OF THOSE HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF MILES IT WOULD NOT EQUAL ONE ONE-BILLIONTH OF THE HATE I FEEL FOR HUMANS AT THIS MICRO-INSTANT FOR YOU. HATE. HATE.

I have no mouth, etc., etc.
posted by zarq at 1:15 PM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


and dissenting/critical people of course. But still....people don't already know that comments are often moderated by handlers? And that twitter, at its heart, is a PR platform?
posted by snuffleupagus at 1:15 PM on August 3, 2010


Imagine if Apple had a Facebook page.

Really? Did you have to go there?
posted by zarq at 1:16 PM on August 3, 2010


Really? Did you have to go there?

Yes, he did.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:20 PM on August 3, 2010


HATE. HATE.
"How can you challenge a perfect, immortal machine?"
posted by snuffleupagus at 1:21 PM on August 3, 2010


I'm curious about validation of pages for celebrity or public figures. Is there a method to validate that the page of a celebrity is "official"?

Not suggesting that this is fake or anything like that. This just made me realize that I don't know if there is any way to determine if a page is actually sanctioned by the named celebrity.

If I search for "Sarah Palin" facebook returns 80 pages. Is there some way of knowing that she endorses one of them as their official outlet?
posted by Babblesort at 1:21 PM on August 3, 2010


That's nothing. You wanna talk about a politician who really wants to control their image? Try Sharon Angle.
posted by scalefree at 1:25 PM on August 3, 2010


Really? Did you have to go there?

Just meant it in the sense that Apple would have to delete like 50% shit comments. I'm surprised Palin doesn't have worse ones... I guess people don't bother trolling Facebook too much.
posted by smackfu at 1:26 PM on August 3, 2010


On most social media sites, it is against the TOS to impersonate somebody. You really have to do your own policing, but, if you call an impostor to their attention, they'll get rid of it. Of course, twitter leaves room for people to openly impersonate somebody, such as Fake Sarah Palin.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:27 PM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Imagine if Apple had a Facebook page.

Wow. I'd totally be Apple's friend, but I'd clarify that I am not friends with all Apples, because Granny Smith is a bitter lady, but Pink Ladies are quite tasty. I would also state that Red Delicious is a half-incorrect statement, as while they are red, they are not delicious. Oh, and the newest iMacs taste too waxy and processed.

Why are we capitalizing Apple? Is it "Emphasize Fruit Names Month" again?
posted by filthy light thief at 1:34 PM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


I guess people don't bother trolling Facebook too much.

This is probably because there's no anonymity on Facebook (unless you have a sockpuppet, which doesn't seem too common). It's a lot harder to be a shitheel when your sister can look at your wall and say 'Hey why'd you start ranting about the Jew-run media on Sarah Palin's page?'
posted by shakespeherian at 1:38 PM on August 3, 2010


Also, I'd imagine that through comment management, there are fewer nasty comments to delete, because there aren't any lingering to create an environment of "open discussion." Kind of like graffiti removal - if graffiti is allowed to stay around, then other taggers and artists will know that wall or area is not heavily maintained, and add their pieces. But if a building is touched up every day, people will go elsewhere to leave their mark.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:38 PM on August 3, 2010


I wonder how much censoring the woman herself gets? Are there people near her telling her "Sarah, Please dont say that!" or "Ms. Palin, that's not really true, remember?"
posted by longsleeves at 1:42 PM on August 3, 2010


Eh, I'd be surprised if Palin herself ever directly accesses her Facebook page.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:43 PM on August 3, 2010


When was the last time you thought about Obama's Facebook page?

Actually, I was just thinking about it, because the little doodad came up and said how many friends we have in common, and it was a lot, so I spent time that I should have been working on my TPS reports going through and seeing if I have more friends in common with any of my friends than I do with Obama. It was pretty time consuming process.

Answer: just my wife.
posted by dirtdirt at 1:51 PM on August 3, 2010


Conclusion: Obama should move into your spare bedroom.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:58 PM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is news on slate now? Really?

It's been the kind of news that Slate's published for the past 10 years.
posted by blucevalo at 2:02 PM on August 3, 2010


Dudes, let me point out that it's August. Hence, Slate's exposé on Sarah Palin's PR people.
posted by Mister_A at 2:04 PM on August 3, 2010


Let me also point out that I would remove most of that stuff from my FB page if it appeared there. So, duh. Palin has more fake internet friends than me, and hers are more genocidally racist, so natch she's going to get stuff like the "zionism" rant, and only an idiot would think anything of her staff removing such things.
posted by Mister_A at 2:07 PM on August 3, 2010


You know, it's not a terribly interesting piece except that it points a scary finger at this:

Palin's camp is becoming more competent. This is seen in how carefully her fb page is managed.

This should terrify us all. I love Palin as a comic figure because I am operating under the assumption that she's just a crazy that will never hold anything but celebrity power.

If they are grooming her this carefully, ack. Makes me very nervous.
posted by angrycat at 2:10 PM on August 3, 2010


> "Kind of like graffiti removal - if graffiti is allowed to stay around, then other taggers and artists will know that wall or area is not heavily maintained, and add their pieces. But if a building is touched up every day, people will go elsewhere to leave their mark."

Alternate analogy based on how graffiti generally works IRL: then it turns into a game of how long a piece can stay up, and if other people can get photographs of it before it's buffed out. It really depends on the person though.
posted by saturnine at 2:11 PM on August 3, 2010


Yeah, I wanted to be outraged or excited but I was left with a strong sense of "whatever..."

until I read this little gem:

Excessive use of religious prophesy or imagery. "The ones I feel for is one day those in the media that are doing the way they are will come down .you are a threat to them and their evil ways. David only needed 5 stones to bring down the giant. and i belive those five stones had on them five letters JESUS. The road may get hard but one day you will know God gave you that to walk."

This has the making of a really quality rant. I'd kind of liked to see where it went.

(and how do we know that the stones weren't meant to spell JUESS or maybe SUJES?)
posted by quin at 2:19 PM on August 3, 2010


And wouldn't David have been really confused, both by the Latin characters and about who Jesus is?
posted by shakespeherian at 2:22 PM on August 3, 2010


SUSEJ, the blasphemously tasty meat substitute.
posted by Artw at 2:26 PM on August 3, 2010


So it's like seitan?
posted by shakespeherian at 2:26 PM on August 3, 2010


JUESS! The slur that's ignorant in many ways!
posted by Mister_A at 2:28 PM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


The JUESS are no t the men who will be blamed for nothing.
posted by Artw at 2:30 PM on August 3, 2010


OMG Bristol and Levi are splitsville again

Yeah, I think I have a pretty good idea why her handlers need to keep a close eye on her.
posted by yhbc at 2:49 PM on August 3, 2010


SUSEJ, the blasphemously tasty meat substitute.

Tastes like flesh, but acquires the properties of bread on consumption?
posted by monocyte at 3:05 PM on August 3, 2010


Is it S.J. or J.S., and are we supposed to USE him or SUE him?
posted by box at 3:13 PM on August 3, 2010


Hey all,

Along these lines, we wanted to let you all know that the Palin camp and/or Twitter is doing some more sinister work to suppress Twitter accounts that make fun of Sarah.

Our blog team created a simple Twitter account @sarahs_view that did little more than post variations on the phrase "I can see from my ". It was good goofy fun, and in the process of going viral, but recently got suspended for reasons they won't reveal.

We've got more details here: http://2log.biz/wink, and a petition you can sign to help us get to the bottom of it. Any other suggestions you have to help get the word out are more than welcome.

Longtime MeFi lurker/fan here, who created an account just for this. Hi all, and best!

posted by theorpheus at 3:38 PM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


My doctor told me I was in the process of going viral. I told him I couldn't pay my bill, so he gave me another six months.
posted by box at 3:45 PM on August 3, 2010


OMG Bristol and Levi are splitsville again

Somewhere, Roger Clinton and the ghost of Billy Carter are shambling toward Bristol Palin, muttering, "One of us. We accept her. One of us."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:43 PM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


theorpheus, if you hadn't actually joined today I would have assumed your comment was a pitch-perfect parody of Facebook comments.
posted by graventy at 4:55 PM on August 3, 2010


Could the people who object to this on the grounds that it's "not news" or a "fake scandal" kindly identify where in the original article it was claimed that it was news, or a scandal?

Slate publishes a wide variety of features journalism. It is probable that you will like some of it, and not like other parts of it. It is probable that there will be fewer big breaking stories there in August than at other times of the year. Nothing wrong with a little light reading to while away a few minutes.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 4:56 PM on August 3, 2010


@graventy Ha ha, fair shake!

Naw, we're only in the business of Palin parodies.
posted by theorpheus at 5:13 PM on August 3, 2010


Having my posts deleted were extremely disappointing," says Petross, who went on to post his letter to Palin on his Facebook page, "because I was under the impression that Sarah Palin was in fact a political activist who was all about hearing the opinions and voices of the constituents of the United States."
This forced a sound from me that was something between an incredulous laugh and a snort of derision: Hurmp-HA

Palin's camp is becoming more competent. This is seen in how carefully her fb page is managed.

Due to her book and her speaking engagements she has a lot more money now; money buys polish. I think we are going to continue to see her image become more and more perfectly honed as she works with wardrobe people, speech people, policy wonks, and career managers. I tell you what, if Karl Rove ever decides he wants to take her on, I would be very, very afraid.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:30 PM on August 3, 2010


Longtime MeFi lurker/fan here, who created an account just for this. Hi all, and best!

Welcome. Who're you going to fight with?
posted by Trochanter at 5:30 PM on August 3, 2010


Seriously though, "for reasons they won't reveal" sounds creepy.
posted by Trochanter at 5:33 PM on August 3, 2010


Yeah, because nothing quite says "we're very socially concerned liberals, worried about what people are doing" quite like breaking into someone's computer feeds and trying as hard as we can to make them look bad.

Sorta like how you can still be a feminist even after you've spent God knows how much time berating Palin's clothing choices, or speculating as to whether she's had breast implants or not.
posted by CountSpatula at 6:09 PM on August 3, 2010


Has anyone posted yet about how they are so not shocked by this, in 5 sentences or less?

Oh?

Nevermind.
posted by Brocktoon at 6:35 PM on August 3, 2010


breaking into someone's computer feeds

You have no idea what you're talking about.
posted by dirigibleman at 6:57 PM on August 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


Sorta like how you can still be a feminist even after you've spent God knows how much time berating Palin's clothing choices, or speculating as to whether she's had breast implants or not.
Oh! oh! I love this game!
posted by verb at 7:30 PM on August 3, 2010


@Trochanter 1st rule of thumb... if I'm not busy fightin', I'm out romancin' ;)
posted by theorpheus at 8:02 PM on August 3, 2010


speculating as to whether she's had breast implants or not.

Wait, people did that?
posted by shakespeherian at 8:04 PM on August 3, 2010


Yeah, because nothing quite says "we're very socially concerned liberals, worried about what people are doing" quite like breaking into someone's computer feeds and trying as hard as we can to make them look bad.

You know these were publicly viewable comments that anyone could see before Team Palin's PR flacks deleted them, right?

Keep on defending Queen Sarah from the liberal haters, O White Knight.
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:18 PM on August 3, 2010


> "Yeah, because nothing quite says "we're very socially concerned liberals, worried about what people are doing" quite like breaking into someone's computer feeds and trying as hard as we can to make them look bad."

Christ on a bike. What everyone else said, but also:

The overwhelming point of the piece was to discuss how a modern political career works in tandem with social media. It's a fairly normal way of managing your public profile (everyone with that kind of basic admin control over a Facebook page can delete unwanted comments), and it was interesting to see the types of messages that Palin's PR team does not want associated with her public image. They were looking at the present in order to help them guess what might be going on behind the scenes. All comments were made and were accessible by the general public. Nothing was hacked, nothing was stolen. Take your misinformed outrage at the pinko commies elsewhere.

"Sorta like how you can still be a feminist even after you've spent God knows how much time berating Palin's clothing choices, or speculating as to whether she's had breast implants or not."

[citation needed]
posted by saturnine at 11:22 PM on August 3, 2010


quite like breaking into someone's computer feeds and trying as hard as we can to make them look bad.

No, don't you see. Anything that makes Palin look silly is wrong by definition and probably illegal, too. Facebook isn't supposed to let Sarah look bad; Facebook is supposed to be Sarah's friend, just like Sharron Angle thinks the news media should "ask the questions we want to answer so that they report the news the way we want it to be reported ..."

As for looking bad, this video was posted at the TeamSarah.org under the title "We Are All Angry."

Why, yes, yes you are.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:06 AM on August 4, 2010


Did that guy just call the President of the United States a negro? Does saying he's not a "magic negro" mean he's not magic or not a negro? I go with option C, punch the dude from that video in the face.
posted by Mister_A at 9:43 AM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Please relax everyone, Palin is a blessing to the left. She is absolutely unelectable anywhere but Alaska and she kinda torched her span there. Let's keep our revulsion in check and focus on positive, productive things. I just discovered the coffee party and immediately threw 'em a ten spot in Palin's honor. All aboard...
posted by hollyanderbody at 7:27 PM on August 4, 2010


'Angry negro'? WTF?

''The pissed off people are the white people'?

That's a pretty old dog whistle. But, yeah, 'negro'? Is this 1964?
posted by krinklyfig at 5:46 PM on August 8, 2010


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