Administrator of ‘People of Iowa State Fair’ Facebook Page Responds

DES MOINES, Iowa — We told you about the Facebook page, “People of the Iowa State Fair” Tuesday.  The page contains random pictures of people at the Iowa State Fair.  Some of the pictures are innocuous – people riding the sky glider or posing with the State Fair Queen.  Others have been described as hurtful, distasteful and a form of cyber-bullying.

The Iowa State Fair is not affiliated with the page and has asked Facebook to take it down.  However, Facebook says it does not violate “community standards.”  Even more frustrating for State Fair organizers, the administrator of the page is anonymous.

We’re not any closer to finding out the name(s) of the administrator(s), but we did get some answers as to why they want to remain anonymous.

When pressed to reveal their identity, the person(s) behind the page responded, “It is irrelevant and could affect (sic) the safety of our families.”

When asked if the administrator of the Facebook page had concerns about the safety of those posting, commenting or appearing on the page, they said, “Those in the pics are not named, and in a huge percentage of the pics, faces are not visible.  Those posting comments and pics do so publicly with their name right on it.  Hopefully this keeps them from crossing the line.”

The administer goes on to say the page follows all Facebook standards and rules and defends the page by saying, “I have read comments every bit as offensive on many, many other Facebook pages.  It is the real world, and people will be themselves, and you are not guaranteed the right to go through life un-offended.”

The administrator also points out that the comments and posts are protected by the right to free speech.  “But, the anonymity will remain as a safety mechanism.  If I could extend that protection to others, we would, but that might allow them to get more unruly.”

Here is the full response:

We would be happy to answer questions or make a statement, but the name(s) of our administration team are irrelevant. The fact is that this is a voluntary public forum, and the content and comments are entirely posted by users. Each post has with it the name (which is a link) of the person who posted it, thereby taking personal responsibility and accountability for their own posts and comments. The administrators of this page do not go to the fair and take these pics, nor do we search the internet for content. Everything is posted by the users. The page has gotten over 20,000 likes, 2,000 content posts, and over 1,000,000 comments in the past week, and policing that kind of influx of content is impossible for an unpaid staff. Plus we highly revere free speech here. The people on this page are still on facebook, and still regulated by all the terms of service applicable; if someone gets beligerant or hateful, they can be removed. We do always work with people when a specific item causes problems, and we remove these posts promptly. People watching is one of the great traditions of the Iowa State Fair, and this site was made to allow people worldwide to enjoy that. I would be happy to answer any further questions you have or make a more elaborate statement if you would like, but identities of admins here are 100% irrelevant. This idea has been put into the world, and embraced by 63,000+ people- if I took the site down tomorrow, someone else would have a new one by the end of the day. And they may not moderate it with the same considerations we do. They may be unwilling to remove items. They may add hateful captions. We do none of that, and we do not encourage anyone else to. But 63,000 people in a free open forum will ultimately do as they wish with no regard to our attempts to change, censor, or stop them. The one with the most control is the user. The internet is full of offensive and disgusting things, and if I stumble across a website that offends me, I re-direct my browser elsewhere immediately and do not go back. People here will like the page, browse through hundreds of photos, and then express how offended they are. But they came here and stayed here by their own free will. We cannot protect people from themselves, nor should we be expected to. This page is here for fun, and I will concede that people posting rude comments are jerks- and they are putting their names on what they say. Looking for who to hold accountable for offensive content? The page is literally an itemized list.

35 comments

  • BrutallyHonest

    Im sure they could press the fact that they are using the name rights “Iowa State Fair”, which is sheding a negative light on the fair. I dont do facebook and despise facebook, not suprised by their response. Facebook is just a huge invasion of privacy, 99% of users of FB do not realize the amount of information FB uses and sells to other companies.

  • Amazed and appalled

    So, (to paraphrase) we are cowards. We like to be cruel to people, yet we hide our identity because we are unwilling to face the consequences for actions that we know are wrong. We’re unwilling for people that know us personally to realize that we are such a contemptible person.

    • Jason

      Um wrong. They don’t post any comments, they don’t even upload the pictures. Revealing who that are accomplishes nothing other than to bring death threats from moron’s like you.

      • iamjoespinkyfinger

        Not true, when they share all the photos others have posted, they are in fact reposting the photos and assuming control of them, and when a lawsuit is filed, the identity of the owners will be public record.

      • KC

        Exactly! I only came to the comments to see why they added the (sic) to the page… the use of affect is correct. As for the article and the page in question, I think it’s absurd that people are attending a public event then complain if they’re being watched… no harm done with this site. Maybe we should allow votes and assign ribbons for various characteristics in the fair-goers. Maybe if they can win something they’ll *want* their picture on the site. :)

  • Kyra

    ‘”…and you are not guaranteed the right to go through life un-offended.” So true!!!!! Most people that end up on this FB page are out to draw attention to themselves. When you set out to draw attention to yourself, you don’t get to pick what kind of attention you get. If the ones that end up on this page are so offended, maybe they should learn a lesson from it. There’s a reason this page exists.

    • linnivy

      KYRA…..While it is true that we can’t go through life without being offended sometimes, to “deliberately” take photos then post them and make rude, hateful comments is a completely different thing. I’ve got to wonder about what kind of parent(s) would raise their kids to be such disrespectful, hateful idiots.

      • Jason

        You assume that the photos are posted to make fun of someone. That says more about how you view the world. They are posted because they are people at the fair, that’s it.

    • Laura

      That’s not true. I have seen some people on here that are attention starved, but a lot of the pictures are just about cyber bullying, body shaming, and being classist.

      • Kyra

        You might say it’s not true, but who are you to say? Plus, can you overuse the word bullying a little more please? Let’s save it for when people are REALLY bullied for crying out loud.

  • Jean

    Aw, geeze, FB doesn’t consider it a violation for their community standards, no surprise there. They might as well not have any standards since what little they do have is so broadly interpreted by them; they must flip a coin to decide what rules they want to enforce and when.

  • heidi holt

    So why not blur out faces and not allow children’s photos to be posted because let’s face it, once someone realizes they know the person in the photo, that person is tagged and the name is there clear for everyone to see. These people are cowards hiding behind facebook just like those posting the terrible comments on their page. Very sad.

  • Michael

    Well they do the same about Walmart shoppers have a little pride in yourself and how you act in public then it’s not an issue!

  • Don't act like a fool in the first place

    I think that if people have such an issue with this page, then maybe it’s an issue with themselves that they need to change. If you’re going somewhere in public and act/dress inappropriately, then why is this page that big of a deal to you? You have already made an appearance at the Iowa State Fair where thousands of people attend daily, why is this page any different? If you don’t want to be put on this page, have some respect for yourself and others around you.

    • Kamandak

      While I agree with the administrators of the page, I don’t think it’s fair to saying being in public is akin to being on this page. Unless, when you are in public everyone stops you and states how hideous your outfit is or how fat you are etc etc

    • Jean

      The reasoning of “if you don’t want the attention then you must act, dress, be a certain way to fit *my* thinking* is a cop out to justify what is essentially cyber bullying and a mild form of stalking (as is the case of multiple photos of a single person being posted on that page). It ranks right up there with the misogynist jerks who blame a victim of rape because they must have done something to deserve it or else it wouldn’t be happening. At the end of the day, how someone else dresses or behaves has no direct effect on you so if you don’t like it, follow your own mantra of “look away and ignore it.”

  • iamjoespinkyfinger

    I wonder, does the page owner have a criminal record involving children it’s trying to hide? I mean since they don;t wish to identify themselves, they invite speculation as to why, if they see nothing wrong with the page itself, then obviously they must have something they don;t wish to know, must be fairly embarassing. But who knows, one lawsuit, buh bye anonymity. And there’s ALWAYS a lawyer out there looking for entertainment.

    • linnivy

      That is right. There are always lawyers looking for some entertainment and to make some big $$$$$ so if I were the people doing this I’d be careful.

    • Kenny

      Because your real name is IAMJOESPINKYFINGER and you have nothing to hid you wouldn’t put your address and phone number on here right? You are ok with hiding your info while calling someone else out on it? Make complete sense………

      • iamjoespinkyfinger

        so basically, you, a one named character, is concerned with what someone using a fake name is saying about someone who chooses to remain anonymous.

        wow, you can’t handle the internet son, you better leave.

        then again it’s only logical that the page owners would either be posting here themselves under a fake name or having their pals do it for them, either way cupcake, you should go get some air.

  • MRI

    “could affect (sic) the safety of our families”
    Uhm… why is that (sic)?
    Affect is, I believe, correctly used in the sentence.

  • Jason

    The State Fair is in the public. You have free right to take photos and post them. Don’t go to the page if you don’t like it.

  • Dave Williams

    At least I get to laugh at you losers at the fair who are to fat to walk and have no problem taking my money to get food stamps and disability because you eat too much, LOSERS!!!!!

  • linnivy

    Never been to the state fair, have been to a few county fairs in Southern Iowa when I was a kid, Back then we had a lot fewer morons and the morons we had didn’t have cell phones with cameras.

  • Kenny

    With all of the other stuff going on in the world this is what people are angry about? The IRS targeting, NSA spying, police killing people, Christians being killed all over the world, and Israel at war. So yes by all means worry about this stupid Facebook page of pictures of funny dressed people at the Iowa State Fair. You worry about this so you don’t have to worry about the actual problems in the world. Hope that works out for you all in the future.

  • Teh

    its there (sic) rite (sic) too (sic) be sedentary and drink pop and consume thousands and thousands of calories every day if they want !!

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