Facebook fan page
August 17, 2009 2:09 PM   Subscribe

My mother would like to get on Facebook at some point in the future. I've neither encouraged nor discouraged her to do so, and wouldn't really have a problem with her on Facebook re: my profile or anything like that. The problem is that she was a former high school teacher and some of her old students have created a fan club page for her. It's mostly harmless fun, and the creator of the page actually posted some really nice things about my mom. For fun they have been posting photoshopped pics of her face on funny pictures (making her a rap star, etc.), but nothing out of bounds or all that offensive has been uploaded. And while I don't really have a problem with the page, there are two things that have me a bit upset.

First of all, one person who commented made fun of my mother's lazy eye, and this is the first comment a person sees when they visit the page. This sort of pissed me off, but not so much that I'm thinking of going on the warpath or anything. If I knew that my mother would never see it, it honestly wouldn't bother me that much. But the fact is, if my mother joins Facebook, she will likely come across this page at some point and I'd really rather she not. She's a sweet lady and it would probably hurt her feelings or at the least really confuse her. Plus, even though the kids are having (mostly) good-natured fun, I don't think she'd understand their humor and would take it the wrong way. Most all of the posts are a couple of years old, so I don't think the page is "active" anymore and I'm wondering if I should try to get it shut down.

Recommendations? Maybe I should just forget about it? I'm pretty sure though that unauthorized Facebook pages are a no-no. I imagine there is some sort of precedent for this, as I'm sure kids everywhere are constantly making pages of their teachers/coaches/anybody in a position of authority.

Any advice as to how to pursue would be much appreciated.
posted by anonymous to Computers & Internet (17 answers total)
You mom went to highschool once and she can probably handle the unpleasantness. Plus I'm sure she's heard worse to her face in school. Unless she taught at some super-nice highschool or something. I know she's your mom and she's probably very sweet but no one survives teaching high school unless they can deal with teenagers being mean.
posted by GuyZero at 2:12 PM on August 17, 2009 [6 favorites]

Message the person who made the comment and ask if they'll delete it since your mother is about to join the site.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:16 PM on August 17, 2009 [19 favorites]

Forget about it.
posted by fixedgear at 2:20 PM on August 17, 2009

Either ask the person to delete the comment, or add your own comments to "drown it out".
posted by blue_beetle at 2:39 PM on August 17, 2009

Nthing GuyZero - (paraphrasing, of course) unless your mother is my hysterically sensitive and naive high school English teacher, Mrs. Cruzan, she's probably heard about all the cracks on her lazy eye that the best and brightest of our public school system could come up with. I wouldn't sweat it.
posted by Pecinpah at 2:41 PM on August 17, 2009

A friend of mine who teaches high school uses a fake name on Facebook and wears a fake mustache in his profile pic, in order to keep the kids away from his personal life. It's worked for him so far. Your mother might not look good with a fake mustache, but at least you could talk to her about what people who work with kids do to keep their privacy online.
posted by hydrophonic at 2:46 PM on August 17, 2009 [4 favorites]

You mom went to highschool once and she can probably handle the unpleasantness.

I would agree, but there's also the embarrassment factor of having this page out there for anyone to see. I'd maybe ask her what she thinks of it and see if she would like any action to be taken.
posted by orme at 2:59 PM on August 17, 2009

I vote for sending a message to the original writer of the comment. "My Mother is Mrs ______and she is joining Facebook. I know you meant no harm with your comment on her fan page, but I wonder if I might prevail upon you to remove the comment because even though my mother is a high school teacher she could take your comment wrong. I'd appreciate it."

I'd just throw that out there and see if it sticks. No harm in trying and teenagers just generally want to kid without malice. You might be dealing with a reasonable teenager. You'd find out.
posted by naplesyellow at 3:14 PM on August 17, 2009 [2 favorites]

Just let it be. Honestly, as an ex-teacher, if I found a facebook page about me I would think it was kind of cute, even if every kid inside was ragging on me hard. If I opened it up and found that the worst thing that anyone had to say about me was "hahahah, remember Mr. Skidoo's lazy eye?" I would be doing fricking cartwheels and buying people shots of tequila. I think as an ex-high-school-teacher, your mom will understand.
posted by 23skidoo at 4:49 PM on August 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

If my mom joined facebook, she would likely have no idea how to find any fan page that existed for her. You may be able to count on generational semi-incompetence (meant in a nice way) with facebook.
posted by krudiger at 4:49 PM on August 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

How recently were these kids in school? If any of them are still students there, the fact that a teacher might see that comment, may be enough to get them to take it down. Maybe let them know that your mom is joining, and they may want to take anything down that they wouldn't want her or any other teachers/school administrators to see.
posted by ishotjr at 6:55 PM on August 17, 2009

You're being (sweetly) overprotective of your mom. Seriously, if that's the worst thing anyone has to say about her, by god, your mom must have been an amazing teacher. She'll deal with it, and likely be very flattered, if she even finds it.
posted by danny the boy at 8:12 PM on August 17, 2009

I have a lazy eye and I mostly forget about it until someone is thoughtless and/or rude. When that happens, it's pretty much "meh, what a dickhead" from my point of view and a really awesome way to identify people I don't want to get to know better. I suspect your mother has dealt with this from childhood and especially in high school with sneaky pics drawn on chalk boards etc.

If you were going to do something, all I would suggest is a private message to the poster saying, "hey, I heard that Mrs Anonymous is on Facebook. You sure you wanna say that about her?" without identifying yourself as her kid. But don't. If the poster is a dick, she doesn't ever want to be writing them a reference or inviting them over for tea.

You're a sweet person, Anonymous. I bet your mum thinks the world of you.
posted by b33j at 1:31 AM on August 18, 2009

Fan pages that are created without express authorization of the person itself are not permitted on Facebook at all, for a host of legal reasons. I don't know about groups, or fake profiles, but fake fan pages = Definite no-no with Facebook. You should contact Facebook to take fan page down, regardless of the seriousness of this issue:

"Fake Pages and unofficial "fan pages" are a violation of our Pages Guidelines. If you create an unauthorized Page or violate our Pages Guidelines in any way, your Facebook account may be disabled."
posted by moiraine at 3:11 AM on August 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

Facebook's rules allow your mom to take control of her fan page, once she confirms her identity to them (and, obviously, has an account). Then she can edit it as she likes, or scrap the whole thing. Actors and musicians do it all the time, and there's some kind of standard procedure for it.
posted by Citrus at 9:29 AM on August 18, 2009

First try messaging whoever the creator or admins of the group/page are and sensitively explain the situation. They will be able to take down the offending posts and send a warning out to the other members. You might try something like this:

"Dear (group creator), my name is ______, I am the child of Ms. _____. I think it is wonderful that you and so many others remember my mother fondly enough to pay tribute to her in this way. She certainly holds many cherished memories of her time spent teaching all of you. I am writing because my mother plans to join Facebook and has asked me to help. This has put me in a bit of a puzzle, which I was hoping you might help with. She is not aware of this group's existence, but it is likely she will find it when she signs up. I do not wish to spoil your fun or censor anyone's comments, however, I worry that some of the humor about my mother, especially regarding her appearance, might inadvertently hurt her feelings. I have every confidence this was not the intent of the posters and this is why I choose to take it up with you directly. So I was hoping you might consider setting the group to private (members only) so my mother won't see it, or perhaps contact the members of the group to make them aware that their comments will be read by their subject herself. Please do not hesitate to let me know if there is anything I can do to help, and feel free to repost my note in a message to the group members if you feel it will help. Thank you kindly, ______."
posted by SassHat at 12:11 AM on August 19, 2009

i would second the ideas of asking them to remove it. but also, honestly, anyone who's ever been a teacher is well calloused by student commentary. believe me, she's probably heard worse in the classroom about herself, right to her face.
posted by RedEmma at 4:00 PM on August 19, 2009

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