Five Ways to Avoid Political Fights on Facebook This Election Season

It's almost funny to look back now on those occasionally annoying e-mails we all got from relatives who liked to pass along rumors and popular myths that could easily be debunked using Snopes. When that happened, we could pretty much just ignore it or, if we were feeling a particular amount of gumption that day, we could pass along how, "Actually, no, Swiffer isn't dangerous for your pets."

Whatever the case, disposing of the detritus was as easy as hitting a delete key. With Facebook, it gets messier. On the one hand, none of us like seeing our Facebook news feed filled with crazy political talk -- particularly as we get closer to the presidential election. On the other hand, we can't just block everyone who posts something we don't like.

That often turns reasonable people into irrational hotheads, who are driven into fits of rage while posting responses to friends and relatives who disagree with them on healthcare reform, immigration or abortion. Fights you though you'd never have suddenly balloon into name-calling and threats, all because of a bunch of pixels floating around on a monitor.

Fortunately, there are some ways to prevent this from happening and keep your family meal at Thanksgiving from devolving into a shouting match over your cousin's Facebook status.

5. Avoid Facebook at critical times.
I've said this before about Twitter. When there is some event dominating the news, unless you want to read about it over and over again, avoid social media. It's inevitable that you'll have to wade through death notices, especially when it is a celebrity or a nerd or, God help us, a nerd celebrity, but that's nothing compared to updates during a political convention or, even worse, the morning after.

4. Don't post anything political on your page.
The best way to avoid problems is to not start them. When you post something on your page with a hint of controversy, there's a good chance someone will respond. Once they do, it's only a hop, skip and a jump to a full-blown fight. And don't tell them they are not allowed to disagree on your page. It will just make it worse. After all, you knew what you were getting yourself into. If you REALLY want to post controversial stuff, but don't want the argument...

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@abbieheat @HoustonPress @jeffbalke I use #1 quite religiously.

FattyFatBastard topcommenter

I had one of these guys do this to a FB post last week.  He basically started name-calling from the get-go and it spiraled downward from there.  It went to greatness when it was learned that this guy (a lawyer) had just been accused of stabbing a bailiff with a pencil.  That got him so wound up, he started looking up backgrounds on the people who had "wronged" him in the thread and posting them.  When I blocked him from doing that, he started posting the backgrounds on other people's walls and even changed his profile pic to one girl's DWI arrest sheet.


Good times.

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