BY: ANDREW COLTON | Editor and Publisher
UPDATED AT 3:07 p.m with clarification from City of Boca Raton. Updates are at end of report.
BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) (Copyright © 2021 MetroDesk Media, LLC) — Citizens interested in official information from the Boca Raton Police Department will no longer have to brave the criminal element that lives on Facebook and other social media platforms to learn what officers are doing.
BocaNewsNow.com reported in late October that the police department — which relies almost exclusively on social media to release information — was ignoring anti-Black, anti-Jewish comments that had been posted as responses to “official” news releases issued by the police department. There was no option to view this information without being subjected to racist, anti-Semitic rants. The police department was not posting advisories to its website, or blasting them via email — a practice followed by every other law enforcement agency in South Florida.
That’s about to change.
City of Boca Raton Spokeswoman Anne Marie Connolly confirms that the police department’s new website is up and running, and that the empty “news” section will soon host press releases transmitted by the police department to social media.
She also condemned the comments that led to our reporting.
“The City of Boca Raton’s social media pages are intended to serve as a mechanism for communication between the public and the City on various city-related posted topics. We do our best to monitor our social media platforms, however, some comments on posts, especially posts that have been published for a period of time, are not flagged by the respective social media platform and may be missed by staff,” said Connolly. “We obviously do not agree with any derogatory comments that may offend members of the community and do our best to encourage respectful and positive behavior when communicating on City platforms.”
The Boca Raton Police Department, ironically, did not police the comments on its official social media channel. Officials posted to Facebook about “black males” committing crimes, opened up the post to comments, and never checked to see the racist comments left within hours. Those comments remained for weeks.
Another official post on Facebook led to comments about Jews.
The Boca Raton Police Department is the only City of Boca Raton agency that is only posting to social media, forcing users to engage in Facebook, Twitter, or both to obtain official information. All other City of Boca Raton agencies post to the City of Boca Raton website. Several Boca Raton agencies email users as well.
UPDATE: The City of Boca Raton claims that “browser issues” are preventing some people from seeing the news feed. Safari is apparently blocking the “news feed” for security issues. Chrome reveals that the “news feed” is just a Facebook feed, but NOT original content only residing on the City of Boca Raton’s website.
UPDATE: In a follow-up communication, Anne Marie Connolly disputed that policy change was a result of BocaNewsNow.com’s reporting on the racist and anti-Semitic comments, and clarified that press releases — not necessarily everything posted to social media — would be posted to the City’s website. We note the City of Boca Raton, while asked for two years about its reliance on social media, only discussed the new “policy” after our articles were published.
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