Robbinsville, NJ, mayor says he’s had it with Facebook
Community pages are a common way for local residents to stay in touch with their community. They often feature local businesses, community events and public safety issues. However, it is also not uncommon for these pages to get hijacked by a small, but vocal, segment of the community.
It is for that reason that Robbinsville Mayor Dave Fried says he is done with visiting or responding to anything on those pages. He is urging other elected officials and public servants to do the same.
"I have encouraged all of our elected in town to stay off these alleged community pages. They do not represent this community in the slightest," Fried said in a post on his own Facebook page.
Fried singled out the page "Around Robbinsville," which he called "horrible."
The mayor blamed a "small group of Partisan keyboard warriors" for hijacking the page, and says residents often send him screenshots of content they find offensive.
If you see something, you do not like online; please resist the urge to screenshot it and send it to me. I am not going back onto those pages. I have more than enough to do managing the actual police force and keeping you safe. I cannot and will not try to be the Facebook police. - Robbinsville Mayor Dave Fried
"Here is my advice," Fried said, "If you see something you think is inappropriate, say something. If you do not want to say something, then leave the community site where it is being said."
When he saw something inappropriate on his town's community page, Fried says he used to try to engage and even encourage people to be nice. That, he says, triggered responses about free speech.
To that, the mayor says, "They are not necessarily wrong. I believe in free speech, and I have advocated for people to have the right to speak even when they are saying something I have worked a lifetime against."
Fried is hoping more people will ditch Facebook arguments, and just come out in-person to a town council or board of education meeting.
"Often times the loudest people on the pages are the people you see the least at community events or out volunteering," he said.
Eric Scott is the senior political director and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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