DAVE VORLAND: It Occurs To Me — Dealing With Political Comments

Now that the Republican and Democratic national conventions have ended, expect to see even more politics on Facebook. For example, your otherwise reasonable friends may begin to post comments about your favored candidate that get on your nerves.

One solution is to “de-friend” the offender, which should be a last resort because you may lose that friend in real life too. I’ve done this on rare occasions — generally only when someone has posted something blatantly sexist, racist or homophobic.

I’ve been de-friended at least twice, once when I shared an Andy Borowitz satire about something Donald Trump had said and again after I posted a mildly critical remark about former North Dakota Gov. Ed Schafer’s performance as “interim president” of the University of North Dakota.

Here are a couple of suggestions.

  • If you notice a pattern of annoying political posts from a friend on your Facebook home page, go to the small box on the friend’s site labeled “following.” Hover your curser over it and a menu will drop down. Uncheck “following” and the friend will remain a FB friend, but his or her posts won’t appear. They’ll never know, and you can reverse the action after the election.
  • Or perhaps a friend is in the habit of “sharing” nonsense from a source you find repulsive, such as, let’s say, “Haters against Hillary” (this theoretical example does not exist). These “sponsored” sites are generally paid for through the deep pockets of partisan organizations or individuals such as the Koch brothers. Click the little box to bring down the menu. It will have an option to “hide” all future posts from the offensive site, no matter who tries to share it to your home page. Click it. Again, the friend will never know.

As always in a democracy, the public in the end will get what it collectively deserves.

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8, still a ways off. It will come and go, followed, thank God, by a steep drop in the number of political messages on Facebook. I’m looking forward to seeing more pictures of pets and grandchildren.

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