Anonymous comments: When is it OK to delete them?

Someone posts insulting remarks on the blog or Facebook page you created for company messaging. Should you grin and bear it, or delete the insults?

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Many brands have embraced a lesson of the social media age: It’s counterproductive to delete most criticism from blogs and Facebook pages.

You look thin-skinned, and you risk enflaming your critics, as Nestlé learned when it threatened to ban those who posted an altered version of its logo during a Greenpeace campaign against the chocolate maker.

But companies and individual bloggers often cut comments that are profane, racist, or otherwise offensive. So how to draw the line between what’s intolerable and what one must grin and bear?

The most cowardly commenters are those who hurl invective anonymously, but using a pseudonym alone isn’t cause for deleting remarks from most comment pages.

Kyle Lacy, a social media and digital marketing consultant, recently blogged about his decision to cut remarks that are disparaging and off topic. He did this after removing comments that he found malicious and personal, although (unsurprisingly) he declined in an interview to specify what they said.

A stated policy

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