Sarah Palin's Team Deletes 10% of Comments on Her Facebook Page

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Sarah Palin's handlers delete about 10 percent of the posts to her Facebook wall, according to a new Slate investigation. As a some-time troll fighter and comment moderator, that number seemed low to me for such a controversial figure, but apparently Barack Obama's staffers only delete about one percent of the messages left on his page.

To help me find out, my colleague Jeremy Singer-Vine wrote a program to capture comments to Palin's page before the clean-up crew could arrive. (Here's an explanation of how Jeremy's program works.) All these posts were initially public, if only for a few minutes. We looked at the comments to 10 Palin posts over 12 days, capturing the deletions in the 24 hours after the posts were live. In that period, a rough average of 10 percent of total posts were deleted.

The deletions amount to a real-time look at how much effort and care Palin puts into protecting her public image. It's not just the number of posts that are screened out that gives some indication of how seriously Palin's team is monitoring things. The superfine mesh through which posts are sifted also gives an indication of the work involved.

Read the full story at Slate.

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science website in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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