Residents angry after being banned from Knightdale’s Facebook page

KNIGHTDALE, N.C. (WNCN) — Several community members say they were banned by town officials from commenting on the official Knightdale Facebook page, but town officials says they had to take the action.

“I’m appalled and it hurts, after living here so long,” said Mark Smith.

Smith has lived in Knightdale his whole life. He says me he tries to be involved with his town as much as possible.

But he says when he questioned the lack of diversity in a newly formed town committee he got a response he was not expecting.

“It was deleted, and I saw I was banned,” said Smith.

Knightdale’s social media policy states, “any inappropriate comments posted to this page are subject to removal and/or blocking at the discretion of the town.”

Smith says he posted nothing which would fall under these restrictions.

Smith is one of three people banned from the page.

Also banned is Keith Gibbs.

Gibbs says he asked the town for an apology after he says a speaker during a town organized event made inappropriate remarks. Gibbs says instead of an apology, he was banned.

“I asked what the due process was, and was told they were working on it; that was three or four weeks ago,” said Gibbs.

Knightdale Town Spokesperson Jonas Silver responded in an email saying both Gibbs, and Smith have consistently made the town a target.

“When a small group continually harass staff and elected officials and hijack our social media threads, we are allowed by law to moderate those comments and remove the offenders from continuing the negative dialogue,” said Silver

Silver provided copies of posts which he says documents this type of behavior on social media.

He says out of 3,600 Facebook followers for the town of Knightdale, there are only three people who are banned from commenting.

Here is the town’s social media policy in full:

Official page for the town of Knightdale. Our community is one of the fastest-growing towns in NC and the Triangle. Just nine miles from downtown Raleigh, Knightdale residents are the youngest in the Raleigh metro (median age 31). Knightdale Town social media sites are subject to applicable public records laws. Consequently, any communication on Knightdale Town social media sites (whether by a Town employee or the general public) is subject to monitoring and disclosure to third parties. Relevant Knightdale Town and North Carolina public records retention schedules apply to social networking content. The official Town of Knightdale, NC Facebook page is intended to provide information from the Town to the public. Any inappropriate comments posted to this page are subject to removal and/or blocking at the discretion of the Town. Inappropriate material may include, but is not limited to: Profane, defamatory, offensive or violent language “Trolling”, or posting deliberately disruptive statements meant to hijack comment threads or throw discussions off-track Attacks on specific groups or any comments meant to harass, threaten or abuse an individual Hateful or discriminatory comments regarding race, ethnicity, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation or political beliefs Links or comments containing sexually explicit content material Discussion of illegal activity Spam, link baiting or files containing viruses that could damage the operation of other people’s computers or mobile devices Acknowledgement of intent to stalk an individual or collect private information without disclosure Commercial solicitations or promotion of a competitor Violations of copyright or intellectual property rights Content that relates to confidential information Content determined to be inappropriate, in poor taste, or otherwise contrary to the purposes of the forum Promoting products, services, or brands Personal promotion Material advertising for a campaign or other partisan political material

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