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Since the beginning of March our Parish Council has been posting curated content from the Electoral Commission regarding Voter ID. 

Some of the posts from our Facebook page were shared to active local Facebook groups which is great for our engagement targets. yes 

A district council candidate has commented on the post with his campaign content, views on voter ID, leaflet, etc. One of the competing candidates has now spoke to us saying that we are breaching purdah rules by allowing his comments on our shared post.

We (the parish council) haven't "liked" or commented on the content, so in my view we are still apolitical. 

I've checked the purdah guidelines but this scenario does not seem to apply. What are everyone's thoughts?

by (410 points)

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In the CODE OF RECOMMENDED PRACTICE ON LOCAL AUTHORITY PUBLICITY it states:

"Local authorities should pay particular regard to the legislation governing publicity during the period of heightened sensitivity before elections and referendums – see paragraphs 7 to 9 of this code. It may be necessary to suspend the hosting of material produced by third parties, or to close public forums during this period to avoid breaching any legal restrictions"

So i guess the question is are you considered as hosting the material or are Facebook hosting it. Do you have the ability to disabled comments?
by (4.6k points)
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Thank you for the info. We can disable comments.
As for the question of hosting the content, are we responsible for the comments of shared material?
If we remove their content, are we then "getting involved"?
I don't use Facebook so don't know how sharing works. I would say you should not allow comments to be made on your own page. If people can share that content and comments can then be made on someone elses page then that is out of your control so i would not worry about that.

IMO if you remove all comments (even if removing all comments means only removing one comment) then you are not 'getting involved', instead you are ensuring the purdah rules are followed. If it was only one particular comment you were removing then yes that could be considered 'getting involved'

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