Rep. Scott Taylor’s Facebook page scrubbed of constituents’ posts

Southsidedaily.com is your source for free local news and information in Virginia Beach

Rep. Scott Taylor. (Taylor's Twitter)
Rep. Scott Taylor. (Taylor’s Twitter)

VIRGINIA BEACH – One day after Southside Daily reported that Congressional District 2 constituents had been blocked from Rep. Scott Taylor’s Facebook page, visitor posts on the page were deleted and Taylor’s political director published a statement defending the social media bans.

Reaffirming that users are only blocked if they are “rude or abusive,” Weldon said they will continue to do so. In what appears to a be a direct response the constituents cited in Monday’s story, Weldon wrote:

Furthermore, we do not shy away from those who disagree with us, this was clearly demonstrated during recent town halls and on the page itself. Lastly, democrat activists do not get to dictate the dialogue about how our campaign page is run, period.

Weldon also referred to the verified page as Taylor’s “unofficial political page,” though the representative does use the page to broadcast town halls and communicate daily with his constituents. In three town halls that Taylor held in February, all of which were live streamed from the page, Taylor told his constituents that he relies on their social media participation and frequently uses their comments to inform his policy decisions.

Virginia Beach resident Lulani Mae asked Taylor at his Kempsville town hall about why she had been blocked, telling the congressman that she was discouraged because she had voted for him in the November election.

“I can tell you what my post was,” Mae said to Taylor. “It was that I was disappointed…”

Before she could finish the sentence, Taylor responded.

“That’s what it is, guys,” Taylor told Mae. “Sorry.”

Before Tuesday, users could post to this page. Sometime before noon, all visitor posts on the page had been deleted.

An unverified Facebook profile under the name “Congressman Scott Taylor” had 34 likes as of 4 p.m. Tuesday.

Southside Daily spoke to four of Taylor’s constituents who all said they had been blocked after disagreeing or expressing disappointment on the page. Three of the four belong to political activism groups in the area.

Mary Meade Holtz, the president of the Virginia Peninsula National Organization for Women who had been blocked from the page, said that the statement further frustrated her. In an interview with Southside Daily last week, Holtz said that she had never commented in a manner that Taylor’s staff considers to be “out of line.”

“I am a constituent. The organization I am a part of is nonpartisan, but I have never spoken on behalf of NOW to Congressman Taylor or on his page,” Holtz said. “I am a voting member of Congressional District 2. Period.”

Holtz said that she tried to call Taylor’s office on Tuesday afternoon to speak to Weldon, but was asked to leave a message. She said her next call was to the American Civil Liberties Union.

After reading the Facebook statement, Mae questioned why Taylor would use an unofficial Facebook page to broadcast his town halls and said that, so far, the response from his administration “doesn’t add up.”

“I do expect an elected official to own up to his mistakes and learn from them, rather than make false insulting accusations that his constituents have been blocked for being rude or abusive,” Mae said.

Weldon was not immediately available for further comment.

Poulter can be reached at amy@localvoicemedia.com