By Gene Hall
The views expressed here are entirely my own. We recently ran a video on our Texas Farm Bureau social media spaces featuring an ongoing legal fight. We’d like to help prevent the federal Bureau of Land Management from seizing private land along the Texas/Oklahoma border. Some people responded in an angry way that was nothing short of scary.
Thousands of folks have watched our videos before, but nothing like this. We passed 2 million views in less than a week. When, in the interest of safety and common sense, we took the post down, it had been shared more than 36,000 times on Facebook alone. Some of the comments were very disappointing—far beyond conservative and liberal ideology. It crossed over into something ugly. I’m responsible for content on Farm Bureau’s spaces, and I feel compelled to review what we are about here.
We support free speech, but we will not allow comments advocating hurting people or overthrowing the government. We will delete that and most likely ban the person who posted it. There is language we simply will not permit. I’d like to think that in a few years, my granddaughter could use this content for a school paper. I don’t want her to acquire an extensive “street language” vocabulary at age 8. We won’t put up with a lot of trolling either. It’s not nice to hijack every conversation.
It is my view, reflected in Farm Bureau policy, that some of the agencies of our federal government are overly aggressive in regulating simple things. Much of it is unnecessary. Some of it does more harm than good and some of the regulators are arrogant. Many are just working people trying to do a job that a lot of us oppose.
We have the ballot box, the courts, the Congress and the court of public opinion to change things we don’t like. As for cursing about issues, ranting about overthrowing the government or hurting someone, let’s just don’t go there. On these spaces…we won’t.