Having worked in organisations that advocated reactive moderation as opposed to some form of pro-active monitoring of their community content, there are definitely situations in which it is the most suitable form of moderation. Maybe your legal position is safer with a hands off approach, or your community has a strong enough culture to enforce your rules of use themselves.
When it comes to Facebook however, you are not provided with tools with which your community can report issues to you directly. Rather, members report breaches to Facebook directly, and you don’t have any control in what is removed and what remains. To stop your page and audience being hijacked, you are however provided with the ability to delete user submitted content, so can task someone at the very least with checking the page once a day and cleaning it up of spam content.
In this circumstance, it is extremely unwise to take the time to set up a Facebook page, bother registering the short URL for it, and then completely ignore it from then on in.
Which is exactly what Ferrero Rocher are doing right now. If you look at the screen-grab below taken this morning, you will see that their branded page has been hijacked by a number of women (maybe) who are keen to promote themselves and their desire to follow a career in porn to Ferrero Rocher’s almost 3 million fans. You can also view the image here.
[Edit]: The screenshot above was taken on Friday 23rd July 2010 at 4pm GMT. As of Monday 26th July 2010 10am GMT, the images above are still present on the page, and have been joined by a whole new batch of spam.
They also have a presence on Twitter, which seems sporadic at best. However they have not responded to suggestions from users to check their Facebook page out, so it seems monitoring is non-existent at this stage on both social media platforms.
Ferrero has always promoted their little parcels of crunchy chocolate as an exquisite and special treat, as illustrated by their “Ambassador” adverts.
However, having minimally-clad women pimping themselves out on your corporate brand page, as well as various other forms of spam such as scammy competitions, self-promotion and advertising, is likely to harm how people perceive your brand.
Given that there are several messages pointing out that the page should be monitored, and others have tried reaching out to their Twitter account over the past few days, one would be led to assume that Ferrero have little interest in controlling the experience one has when visiting their social media product pages.
More importantly, it seems like they are merely box ticking; when told they needed a presence, they built one, without bothering to plan what to do with it or how to keep the content in line with their brand values.
Planning a monitoring and moderation system is one of the first and most important things you need to do when building a new community. Run through some role-play. Decide on some procedures for different scenarios that could happen.
: Some other brand pages that have been hit by porn spammers and are obviously not being monitored: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Big Bang Theory (looks like they’ve removed the comments from the wall, but the photos are still visible on the left column and in the fan photos album – doh…), same with Adidas Originals and U2 (check fan photos albums). Ellen Degeneres doesn’t seem to mind having the same photos in her album either, as do Avatar the movie and Twilight (those poor teenage eyes!).
[photo by *Zoha.N]