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Port: ND Department of Health cuts off Facebook comments; anti-vaxxer cranks threw a hissy fit

I wish this wasn't necessary. I wish more people would find something better to do with their lives than rail on about conspiracy theories in Facebook comment threads. But we are obliged to live

PHOTO: ND Department of Health Logo
A COVID-19-themed logo posted on Facebook by the North Dakota Department of Health
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MINOT, N.D. — Want to feel cynical about the state of humanity in the year 2021? Go and read the tidal wave of vitriolic whining that's been set off by the North Dakota Department of Health's decision to cut off comments on its Facebook posts.

The statement put out by the department says, starting Tuesday, October 26, the comments will be cut off for all posts and topics, but their statement also says the decision was made as a way to stem the flow of misinformation.

We can safely conclude that this is about COVID-19 and vaccines. The anti-vaxxers have been using the department's Facebook posts as a platform for their nonsense, and the department apparently decided they were under no obligation to provide a venue for the ignorant.

And, hey, they're right.

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I read many of the comments so you don't have to (you can thank me later), and as you might imagine a lot of the complaints are casting this move as some sort of effort to crush dissent, but that doesn't make any sense.

Facebook is a wide-open medium. Anybody who wants to put their two cents in on a Department of Health post can share that post and write what they please.

They can take screen captures of the post and share it on other social media platforms.

They can write blog posts about it or letters to the editor.

They can contact their lawmakers, their congressman and even the governor's office if they feel sufficiently motivated.

Nobody is being silenced.

Further, this move may save the Department of Health some resources now that there are no comments for the staff there to monitor. Frankly, I think the good people at the department have better things to do than proctor the inanities Facebook keyboard warriors choose to share with the world.

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I wish this wasn't necessary. I wish more people would find something better to do with their lives than rail on about conspiracy theories in Facebook comment threads. But we are obliged to live with the world as it is, not as we wish it to be.

I say we find whoever it is at the Department of Health who is responsible for this decision and give them a raise.

To comment on this article, visit www.sayanythingblog.com

Rob Port, founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at rport@forumcomm.com .

Opinion by Rob Port
Rob Port is a news reporter, columnist, and podcast host for the Forum News Service. He has an extensive background in investigations and public records. He has covered political events in North Dakota and the upper Midwest for two decades. Reach him at rport@forumcomm.com. Click here to subscribe to his Plain Talk podcast.
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