Palatine Township might set up committee to review official online posts

  • Palatine Township board members are considering a policy for official government posts on social media and elsewhere online that could require a committee to review content perceived as opinion. Officials began calling for a social media policy after Township Supervisor Sharon Langlotz-Johnson referred to "hysteria" over the novel coronavirus on the government's Facebook page last month.

    Palatine Township board members are considering a policy for official government posts on social media and elsewhere online that could require a committee to review content perceived as opinion. Officials began calling for a social media policy after Township Supervisor Sharon Langlotz-Johnson referred to "hysteria" over the novel coronavirus on the government's Facebook page last month. Screen grab

  • Palatine Township Supervisor Sharon Langlotz-Johnson.

    Palatine Township Supervisor Sharon Langlotz-Johnson.

 
 
Posted4/28/2020 5:30 AM

Palatine Township board members are considering a policy for official government posts on social media and elsewhere online that could require a committee to review content perceived as opinion.

Board members and other officials began calling for a social media policy after Township Supervisor Sharon Langlotz-Johnson referred to coronavirus "hysteria" on the government's official Facebook page last month. The officials said they never were consulted about the post and that Langlotz-Johnson doesn't speak for them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

In response, township Trustee Bill Pohlman outlined a proposal to add social media to an existing website policy during a teleconference meeting Monday night.

Pohlman said a committee composed of the township supervisor, a trustee and an employee would decide what's suitable for the township's online postings before going public.

"Three people are looking at it," Pohlman said. "Hopefully, with three people looking at it, nothing gets through that shouldn't get through. That's the general gist of it."

However, Langlotz-Johnson said "normal postings" generally occur immediately after food donations and events. After she voiced concern about potentially waiting up to two days for approval of basic informational posts, the other elected officials tentatively agreed the review should be limited to content perceived as opinion.

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"Anything opinion-related should be reviewed carefully, that's all," Trustee Andy-John Kalkounos said.

Trustee Susan Kern said the definition of standard posts would need to be followed strictly "so that you don't blur the margins of what needs to be reviewed and what's not to be reviewed."

Langlotz-Johnson said she expects the proposed policy to be revised and presented at a nonvoting committee session, possibly on May 11.

"Palatine Township will not today, or any day, close our doors over the hysteria of the Coronavirus," Langlotz-Johnson wrote last month in the Facebook post. "We know people will need even more assistance because of businesses closing, people staying home from shopping, going out to eat, etc.

"We only ask people to use common sense at all times. Wash your hands, cover your mouth and nose to sneeze or cough, and if you do not feel well, do not come to Palatine Township."

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