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Step-By-Step Guide to Moderating Comments on Facebook Timeline

By Lisa Barnett and Tia Fisher

If you're the administrator of a Facebook Page, you’ve had a while now to get used to the changes imposed by Facebook with the introduction of the timeline. How have you got on?  The first time you were presented with the new admin panel, you may have been completely lost and been searching around for all those lovely admin tools that Facebook promised us.  Well, we’ve been testing it out, and here's our step-by-step guide to moderating posts and comments on the Facebook timeline. Hope it helps!

The Admin section
So first things first – you need to be in the admin section. To 'unhide' the admin panel for the page, you need to click on admin panel button found in the top right hand corner at the top of your timeline.


Once you are in the admin panel, you will see something similar to this:



 Step 1: See Activity. Check 'Notifications' for the last post, response, vote or like
From here you can see who has most recently liked a post, posted on your timeline or replied to a status update.  You can click through from here to see the actual content on the page, and you can delete or like comments and check out the hidden spam comments from here (also from the 'Activity Log', see later).


You can see that there are Spam comments (hidden from the page) by the three little dots.  Click on those and you'll have the chance to delete the spam altogether - or mark it as 'Not spam'.


If you click on 'See All' you can set up an RSS feed of notifications and also click through to the user profile.

Step 2:   Go to the 'Activity Log' by clicking on 'Manage', and on the drop down menu choosing 'Use Activity Log'. Go here to moderate the content on your timeline - check it against your terms and display/hide/delete the content by Page admin or by others. Here you can also check the Page admin activity (useful for teams) and your spam posts.



This takes you to this page, with 'All' as default in the dropdown menu in the top right.


The other drop down options under 'All' are:

The 'All' section excludes 'Spam', by the way, but otherwise, all content can be seen here, and the dropdowns give filters so you can search for content more easily.  Note though that 'Comments' means 'Comments by the Page Admin'.  Comments by users have to be found via the post they relate to.

'All' shows you, in chronological order:

  • Status updates made by the Page admin
  • Responses (aka comments) made by the Page admin
  • Photos/videos posted by the Page admin
  • Photos/videos posted by users - either hidden or visible.*
  • Posts by others on your timeline - either hidden or visible.*
  • Responses (aka comments) made by users - to find comments on posts, look for the speech bubble against a post and click it.
  • Questions, events posted by Page Admin

* Important: We have found the occasional post by a user which was on the front page, but didn't show up here.  Also, we've had odd occurrences of posts which we've hidden manually and should have been retained in 'All' and 'Posts by others' with the hidden icon - but have strangely found their way to the Spam folder instead.  Has this happened to anyone else? Lesson: always check the spam folder for missing posts, and the front end as well, to be sure you've missed nothing.

Comments: If a post has comments, a speech bubble icon will be on the left of it.  Hover, and it will say how many comments the post has.  Click it to be taken to the thread (from where you can 'like' or delete).

Hidden vs 'allowed' (= 'visible on page') On the right hand-side are icons showing whether the content is visible ("allowed") or hidden on the timeline. If you click on either of the icons, you can choose to delete it or if it is hidden, allow it on the page.

Step 3: Check 'Spam' posts
This is now where you will find all the posts which have been caught by:

1. The filters set by Page Admin
2. Facebook's own inbuilt filters - which remain a mystery to us. This is what is says about them on Facebook Help:

All the posts should show the circle with the line through it, depicting that the content is hidden from the page.We strongly advise you to check your spam filters as part of your moderation and 'unmark as spam' where Facebook has got it wrong.  Note our comment above - we've sometimes found posts we've hidden maunually in this folder, but we've pretty sure this was a Facebook blip.

Step 4: Check 'Posts by others'
This content should all be in the 'All' section above, but you may find it more efficient to check it here.

These are posts that users  have posted directly onto your timeline, rather than replying to any Page status updates. Users can now post to your wall without being a fan and 'liking' your page.

On the right hand side, it will show you whether the post is visible or hidden from the page. You can choose to hide or delete posts here by clicking on the icon. You can also get the link to the post by clicking on the word 'timeline' or right clicking and choosing 'save link location'.

You can see if there have been any further comments/responses by clicking on the comment box marked by the red circle, as we showed in the 'All' section:

From there you can delete (or 'like') comments as you wish.

Step 5:  Check 'Posts by others' on the FRONT END of your timeline

As we have said above, it's best not to rely on everything appearing in the activity log so, if you aren't using any other kind of reliable Facebook management tool, then we would recommend that you also check the front end of Facebook. 'Posts by others' (above) filters your Page admin posts out from the timeline content, making it easier to see what others have posted.

You may have opted in ('Manage>'Edit Page')  to show the box containing 'Recent Posts by Others' at the top right of your timeline, and alternatively, you can quickly check this box, expanding it by clicking 'See all' in the corner, and delete (not hide) posts from the page this way too.

Page setting options
Posting by others options

Of course you could choose to stop people posting on your altogether, and there may be situations (such as a social media crisis) where you may choose to do so - or you may choose to have them hidden until you have checked them to make sure they are within your terms.  Here are Facebook's instructions for  turning off, or pre-moderating posts, or removing the 'recent posts by others' box at the top of your timeline.  We should point out here that it's very unwise to delete criticism of your brand from your timeline just because it hurts.  Honesty, transparency and responsiveness are king. And remember anyone can write on your wall now, even people that haven’t 'liked' your page.

Edit page options:

  1. Allow a 'posting by others'  box for text / photo / video to appear at the top of your timeline. If you don't allow this, others can't 'start a conversation' on your page, only respond to you with a comment (and no photos or videos are possible on a comment)
  2. You can choose to have the box collating recent posts by others at the top of your page.
  3. You can choose to have posts (although not comments) hidden until Page admins approve them
  4. You can choose to allow users to message Admins directly by offering them the 'Message' button on your timeline (just under your cover image).  These messages will appear in the 'Admin Panel', in conversational thread display
  5. Moderation blocklist - add words you would like to filter as 'Spam' - for example "http://" which will pick up spam links. Facebook also offers 2 inbuilt levels of profanity blacklist medium/strong (though we've never seen the lists to say what is blocked).

Things to note:
Note that spam and hidden posts are always visible to the user who posted them, and their activity will appear in their own timeline and be visible according to their own privacy settings. It is hidden only on the Page.

Note that if you choose to delete, rather than hide content, it is gone forever, with no record of it.

Escalating content
You may need to refer content on for a second opinion or to another department. In order to send the link for the actual post when you are escalating anything, you can click on the word 'timeline' to get the comment to open in a new window, or right click and copy link location.

Friend's activity
This is a box which will appear to a user if they have friends who have tagged or mentioned the brand in an update.  It appears below a box of profile pics of friends who have liked the page.

You have no control over this - nor will you be able to see what your page visitors are seeing. Visitors to your page will be able to see what their friends are saying about your brand (subject to the privacy permissions they applied to that post) Here's what Facebook says about it:

"When people visit a Facebook Page, they'll see what their friends and people they subscribe to are saying about it. For example, if someone tags a Page in one of their posts or checks in at a location, the people they originally shared with will see these stories highlighted for them on the Page's timeline. Friend activity is only visible to people included in the post's audience, and the icon in the upper-right corner distinguishes these posts from posts by the Page."

We mention this as a point of information only, as it can be a little confusing.  But there is nothing admin can do - nor will they be aware of what users are seeing.

Is it an improvement?

We don't think the new admin panel has made lives of the those who have to moderate the comments any easier. Whilst it does have all the functionality there, but it feels very clunky and somewhat un-intuitive - and we don't quite trust it yet, to be honest. 

At eModeration we moderate a wide variety of client's Facebook pages and there have been some strange anomalies occurring since timeline started. As well as the Spam folder issue mentioned above, we use some third party Facebook management tools and these have shown some oddities. Some of the content has been appearing first in these tools before it is appearing in the timeline. While one tool saw the content appear first there, the other tool was not showing responses made by the Page admin in theirs ... It's been a fun time. No matter what tool you use, we always recommend that you look at the front-end of Facebook so you have the view that your fans and potential fans see.

Over the next few weeks, we hope to see these bugs or glitches disappearing from the Facebook timeline. Interestingly when we tried to report a bug with some content not appearing, there was a bug in the Facebook reporting tool  ... If you have found any wierd stuff, shortcuts, hints and tips on how to moderate content on your timeline, do let us know below. 

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