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Article updated: 9/14/2012 11:50 AM

Island Lake Facebook page under scrutiny, but debate delayed

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A planned discussion about the operation of Island Lake's Facebook page was postponed Thursday night.

The page, primarily maintained by Trustee Shannon Fox, has been criticized in recent weeks by some residents and political activists. They've complained about comments being deleted and some items of community concern being reported on the page, but not on the village's official website.

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In the days before the meeting, Fox said she wanted to talk about the page's operation Thursday night because she's received complaints from residents who didn't want to subscribe to the page because of negative comments posted there, among other issues.

"If the ability for bullies to spew negative commentary and personal attacks prevents residents from subscribing to a service to receive information regarding their community, then we must reconsider our means of delivering said information," Fox told the Daily Herald in an email.

But, Thursday night, Fox asked for the discussion about the Facebook page to be postponed indefinitely. The board agreed to postpone the talk. Trustee Laurie Rabattini opposed the delay.

After the meeting, Fox said she doesn't want to block anyone from accessing the Facebook page for fear of violating their First Amendment right to free speech.

Fox has overseen the page since September 2011. People who follow the page have been able to add comments directly on the page's wall and after postings.

In an email, Fox said the content of some comments has concerned residents.

"People simply don't want to have negativity about their hometown constantly thrown in their face," Fox said.

The frequency of abusive comments "have increased significantly" recently, Fox said.

Fox didn't single out any posters by name.

Rabattini has voiced concern on Facebook about some of her comments being removed.

Wayne Schnell, a former part-time Island Lake police officer who blogs about politics in the town, also has complained about comments being removed.

Schnell has been warned about violating the page's terms of service, a Daily Herald review of the page revealed. The most recent warning was issued Monday.

In a blog entry posted Tuesday, Schnell said he didn't believe his comments violated the rules.

"I tell it like it is, Shannon, and you obviously don't like it," Schnell wrote.

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