The City of Cornwall Chokes Voices on Its Facebook Page – Deletions; Censorship – Is this Really 2012?

The City of Cornwall Chokes Voices on Its Facebook Page – Deletions; Censorship – Is this Really 2012?
Bob "Vienna Sausage" Peters – Economic Development – Cornwall Ontario

CFN –  Cornwall Ontario fascinates me.  It’s part Twin Peaks; part Peyton Place, and full bore Cornwall.   Since founding the Cornwall Free News nearly three years ago the person I have dealt with the most has been Mr. Bob “Vienna Sausage” Peters with the Economic destruction Development department.

Mr. Peters was the author of the report to council; voted in 6-3, that essentially has started the City on a slippery slope; on how it’s perceived by the public online.

At first it was Online Anonymity that was the issue; but deep down it’s more about being highly thin skinned; like say a possum…

Mr. Peters wrote the following in his report which was signed off by his boss; Cornwall Ontario’s Million Dollar Man, CAO Paul Fitzpatrick.

A review of local news websites show that only two allow anonymous posts: the Standard-Freeholderand the Cornwall Free News. Both sites have some moderation of comments, but a review of activity over the past several months have led staff to concur with the generalized assessment of the practice by the American Journalism Review: “Comment sections are often packed with profanity, and vicious personal attacks.”

We contacted the mayor; council, and of course Mr. Fitzpatrick and told them straight out.  You can’t repeat lies about a local business; especially if you aren’t going to allow us to speak before council to repudiate them.

See Syd Cuss & Swear

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2CTb9UCI5KE

This was not only refused, but of course resulted in being commented on at council; picked up by the CBC and other media.    As you can imagine as we have always been moderated, and extremely RARELY as opposed to OFTEN have any profanity or vicious personal attacks on CFN this was shocking.

But the City’s new online position posed another very interesting question.  What about their Facebook page?    It had zero pre-moderation and as any facebook user can tell you there is quite a bit of profanity and attacks.

It also resulted in Mr. Peters and his sidekick Kevin Lajoie spending countless city hours at the taxpayer’s expense moderating the facebook page; which at the end is a city tool and therefore falls under usage similar to how City Hall would be.

See “some” of the elected officials and city management aren’t perfect either like the rest of us.  Some of them have funny notions as Councilor Grant had in the video below.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6FIdNl7vB4

Cronyism and Bullying are not rarities to how business is done down at City Hall in Cornwall; nor unique in the world.  Here is Councilor Carr responding to a polite media question from yours truly on the mural covering the empty pit on the Corner of Pitt & Second that Heart of the City spent a minimum of $12,000 on and that the owners of the land didn’t have to pay a penny for.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fm9QhKWv55k

Today Kevin Lajoie posted that the city has decided to not allow users to post subjects any further.  He and Mr. Peters had been deleting comments, posts, and even quotes in the name of their terms of service which of course had nothing to do with Facebook’s terms of service.

One local lawyer last week stated that it was a gross charter of Canada violation for Messer’s Peters and Lajoie  to behave in this manner in such a heavy handed manner.  Some people’s posts would be removed and some not for the same alleged infraction.

One long thread attacking this scribbler was allowed for days.   It was all frankly; embarrassing for the City of Cornwall and we residents and business people.

What the City now has is a Facebook page where they only can post something and they pick and choose which comments to allow.

Those actions of gross censorship and manipulation of information to the public so outraged a portion of their Facebook users that a new page was created, and has had over 700 people join in less than 10 hours as of this printing.

It is now the fourth spin off page as the public reacts strongly condemning Mr. Peters actions.

You can find that group by following this LINK to Facebook. .

Here are some quotes remaining on the City’s Facebook page (many have been deleted as the city has now added two more admins)

JpVee Desaulniers I agree whether comments were rude or not the original post wasnt and as fire attacking moon she simply started she was disgusted and wouldn’t be back as a resident of Cornwall these are the types of things as well as events that I personally would like to know I urge someone to create a new group too in which the truth can be spoken about Cornwall good bad and ugly without having to ask someone if its ok to post the truth

more

Chris Mellon thanks Corey Roachi requested to join this group was BS to begin with! this group is nothing but fake they wanna post all the positive but what about the negative that they fail to tell us about this town????? The admins are trying to portray this city as though nothing ever goes wrong, nothing is bad here when in fact there is alot of stuff needing to be fixed here! Like our medical care that ive seen NUMEROUS people post about but all post get deleted! It almost seems as though they are trying to hide something!

more

Cory N Ashly I think the city is AWESOME, I think the ppl trying to “run” it are in over their heads! HAVE FUN withh this! I know the media will!!

Steph Beaudette ok i understand what your saying Paul, but what about the people who are wanting to move their families here and want to know everything they can about Cornwall? Are we gunna give them false views that Cornwall is the perfect place in the world where nothing ever goes wrong? I love Cornwall personally but there is a lot of issues here that need to be resolved! Just like every other city!

David Jans Not able to post anymore? Depending on your own view of the purpose of this group, it’s value can vary quite a bit but for me and probably hundreds, if not thousands of members, this group just lost pretty much all of it’s value.

Kevin Coleman Its Censorship and everyone should be entitled to oppinions. Cornwall is famous fo an elite group controlling everything. for example

Ryan Lalonde When u put a lock on the group like this it looses way to much, when people cant post and find help for employment and many other topics i know when i posted for employment it was a big help , oh well just another thing that Cornwall should really review there policy’s on.

The internet really frightens a lot of people.   I guess in some ways it should as the flow of information can be lightning fast and ripe for opportunities for inaccuracies to be spread like wildfire.  With the median age of the mayor, Council, and the CAO hovering near where Mr. Harper wants to move retirement age for Canadians it’s understandable; especially when some of them don’t know how to turn on their computer, never mind understand the intricacies of Social networking.

It should be interesting to see whether people on City Council and management have the integrity to right their wrongs or simply make things worse?

The founders of the new Cornwall Ontario Facebook page posted that they hope to eclipse the city’s page shortly.  It should say something about social networking and the internet itself if they are successful.

What do you think amazingly valued viewers of The Cornwall Free News?  You can post your comments below.

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One Response to "The City of Cornwall Chokes Voices on Its Facebook Page – Deletions; Censorship – Is this Really 2012?"

  1. Jimmy   January 30, 2012 at 10:46 PM

    Jamie great article! If Peters and Lajoie get to play on Facebook all day and get paid, where do I sign up…what a farce. I love to see that my taxes are put to great use! From what I recall from many moons ago wasn’t Peters fired from the city only to be re-hired? What was he fired for.. reading the newspaper too often? HA! Anyways, keep up the good work and thumbs down to the bullys.

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