Column: Commenters flood the UP’s Instagram — and they may stay

After a story was posted regarding demonstrators on the breezeway, UP comments were flooded with hate and disagreements by people who don’t follow our page.

Savannah+Peifer%2C+Editor-In-Chief+at+the+University+Press

Nicholas Windfelder

Savannah Peifer, Editor-In-Chief at the University Press

Savannah Peifer, Editor-in-Chief

Yesterday, the UP published a story explaining the presence of demonstrators on the Breezeway and how their actions angered student leaders. We posted it yesterday evening and left comments open.

The flood gates opened. 

Less than 24 hours later the post had 621 comments and 1,473 shares. 

We observed these commenters sharing our post saying, “raid.” This was to signal people who supported their views to fill the comments. Instagram pages commented the same sentiments over and over again. 

They directly referenced students we interviewed, and pushed back against students showing their support for the Jewish community. The bulk of the comments read: “#Ye24.” 

It’s unclear if these commenters are students because most of them were private accounts without the owner’s name or photo attached. 

We received countless DM’s including questions, comments, and concerns. 

The main question: can we limit our comments?

At 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday, News Editor Jessica Abramsky and I met with our advisors and discussed the messages, the nature of the comments, and our concerns. 

The conclusion: we leave the comments open. This decision is subject to change if comments threaten violence or expose personal information. 

The UP follows a code of ethics provided by the Society of Professional Journalists. This code leaves comment policy to the discretion of the journalists.

The UP is ultimately a news outlet. When we invite positive comments, we invite negative ones. We felt– and still feel– if we shut off the comments, hate wins. The UP has never and will never stand for hate. However, we support the FAU community standing up for themselves. The UP leadership cannot allow our writers or readers to feel anyone can overrun them, especially on our own Instagram page. 

We also believe if we shut off comments they will move to our other posts and continue filling the comments.

We invite individuals to submit a letter to the editor, but know that the UP reserves the right to deny its publication. To submit a letter,  email us at [email protected]

Savannah Peifer is the editor-in-chief for the University Press. For more information regarding this or other stories DM her on instagram @ginger.savvy or email her at [email protected]