A number of Donegal personal Facebook pages have been blocked, at least one has been suspended, and posts have been removed from a number of others, following complaints by the Donegal GAA County Board.
The Democrat/People's Press has also learned that a number of Facebook pages are being investigated by Donegal GAA officials and suspensions may be handed out.
The pages involved are all anonymous and carried very personal abusive comments about Donegal senior team manager Rory Gallagher following Donegal’s All-Ireland Championship Qualifier defeat by Galway in Sligo.
The Democrat/People’s Press has also learned that Facebook has taken the action to block the pages, following complaints from the Donegal County Board. The complaints were made through the Donegal PRO, Ed Byrne.
“We made a number of complaints last week about a number of the comments which were of a personal nature,” the PRO told the Democrat/People’s Press last night.
“As of this morning (Sunday) we have been informed by Facebook that they have blocked three accounts, they have suspended one and they have taken down a number of offensive comments.
“Blocked means that the promoter of the site is denied access to the page and suspended means just that access to the page has been suspended for the time being.”
However, the PRO pointed out that the blocking process is only a temporary one and is not permanent.
“One of the offending sites that we were informed was blocked on Friday, is back up and running again. The blocking usually lasts for 24 hours,” Mr. Byrne said.
“We are monitoring those sites and all social media closely and investigations are being carried out on a number of Facebook pages.
“All of these pages are anonymous but it is possible in some cases to find out who is behind them. We are currently investigating a number of pages and we are making good progress and may be able to identify some of the offenders.
“And if we do we will have no hesitation in handing out suspensions under the GAA’s guidelines on social media.
“We will not tolerate the type of personal abusive comments like we saw last week. And if we find some of our own members are involved we will have no difficulty in dealing with them. We have no problem with comments that are fair and constructive but some of the abusive stuff we saw last week is totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”
The PRO is to address the issue at Monday night's County Committee meeting and outline the GAA’s position on social media and in particular personal abusive comments on sites and the need of continual monitoring of social media.
Such was the level of personal abuse carried on a number of Facebook pages last week in the aftermath of the Galway defeat, it led the Donegal GAA chairman to go public on the matter.
In last Thursday’s Democrat, Sean Dunnion, who described some of the personal criticism of Rory Gallagher as ‘outrageous and shocking’, condemned it in the strongest possible terms.
And he urged those posting the messages and comments to desist immediately.
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