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Social Media Response Assessment and Management Guide

Pediatricians on social media may receive unwanted responses or messages by online users. Some users share misleading or false information, intend to provoke an emotional response, or otherwise disrupt normal on-topic discussion. Other times, the false information is information they truly believe in and they are not willing to be educated with professional, accredited resources. Below are ways to assess the situation and resources for multiple social media platforms.

What to do:

  1. Gather information and assess.
    • Look at the person's account to see if they post about certain topics frequently. Are there hashtags you can add to your Facebook page's banned word list (more information below).
  2. Take ownership of your post or hashtag. Ask your online community of peers and colleagues to amplify your post positively and drown out any negative comments.
  3. Make a plan of action to address future situations more effectively and cautiously.
    • See the information below on how to block, ban, and mute comments on various social media platforms. Reporting accounts is available on all social media platforms as well.


Is the posting positive?

Yes: If the response is factual, not a rant, or negative in nature, consider engaging by sharing, liking, or responding.

No: Evaluate if the person posting is…

  • Misguided – Erroneous facts in posting but good in nature (e.g., someone posting an incorrect time for an event or crediting the wrong person).
    What to do:
    • Consider responding to fix the facts.
    • When responding, disclose that you have the credentials of being a medical professional.
    • Cite sources by including links, videos, or images (links or videos preferred).
  • Dedicated to bashing, degrading, and derailing the conversation – This is often someone who provides false information they truly believe and is not willing to be educated with professional, accredited resources.
    What to do:
    • Monitor and consider blocking/report.

  • Ranting or joking in satirical nature (think poking the bear).
    What to do:
    • Monitor and consider blocking/report.

  • Unhappy Customer – Posting in result to a negative experience.
    What to do:
    • Consider responding to rectify the situation.
    • Be transparent when responding. If responding from an organization account disclose who you are.
    • Cite sources by including links, videos, or images (links or videos preferred).
    • Don't rush, take your time to create good and valid responses.
    • Respond in a tone that reflects professionalism and credibility.
    • Focus on the most used resources from AAP.

Tactics for specific social media platforms

For Twitter:


Muting a user means you will no longer see that user's tweets or retweets in your Twitter feed. This can be a helpful feature if someone you are following tweets out a lot of spam.


Blocking a user prevents them from following you or adding you to a list, sending you a direct message, viewing your account, or tagging you in a photo. If you block someone, you will automatically unfollow them. Twitter does not alert users that you have blocked them, and it does not prevent them from mentioning you in tweets, although you will not see those mentions


As with Facebook, you can report Twitter users who are really harassing you. This could result in a warning or the suspension of their Twitter accounts. If a user is really giving you trouble or is issuing death threats, reporting might be a good step to take.

For Facebook :


Hide is your first option for any negative comment that you would like to get rid of. You access it by clicking the little x in the top right-hand corner of the comment (you have to hover your mouse over the area to be able to see it).

The hide feature allows you to hide comments from your Page so that no one but the commenter and their friends can see it. This can be a very effective way of removing a commenter's impact without them realizing it. The commenter isn't aware that the comment has been hidden, but your Facebook fans will no longer have to look at it.


Once a comment has been hidden, you are presented with the opportunity to delete or report the comment, or ban the user who wrote the comment. Deleting a comment will remove it permanently, and the user who wrote the comment will know that it's been deleted.

This can be a risky decision to make, because it could prompt the user to write more inflammatory comments in retaliation. If you decide to delete comments, we recommend including a response explaining why the comment was deleted, such as bad language, abusive behavior, or a breach of terms and conditions. This lets your other followers know that you aren't just ignoring upset customers or deleting comments at random.


You can also report comments to Facebook if they fail to comply with the terms and conditions of the site (including bullying, nudity, spam, etc.). Just be aware that Facebook isn't especially prompt with their response times, so this might not yield timely results.


If a user is continually a problem, you may need to consider taking more drastic measures. Banning a user removes their ability to publish to your Page or like or comment on your posts. They still like your Page and can share your content elsewhere, but on your own Page, they cannot publish at all. This removes their ability to say nasty things where all your fans can see it.

Ban Bad Words

It's possible to ban certain bad words from your practice Page through your Facebook Page settings under General>Page Moderation. This will prevent designated words from ever appearing on your Page by hiding a comment that uses a word in your list.

For Instagram:

Turn off comments

You can turn off commenting to prevent people from commenting on an individual post. When you turn off commenting, any comments that are currently on your post will be hidden.

If you turn commenting back on for a post, previous comments will be restored, and people will be able to comment again.

To turn commenting off or on for a post you've shared on your iOS device:

Tap the three dot setting icon above your post.

Select Turn Off Commenting or Turn On Commenting.

Report Comments

If you see comments that aren't following our Community Guidelines, you can report them. To report a comment:

Tap the word bubble icon below the post

Swipe left over the comment (iPhone) or tap and hold the comment (Android) you'd like to report

Tap the stop sign icon

Tap Spam or Scam or Abusive Content

Select an option for why the comment is abusive

When you report an inappropriate comment, your report is anonymous, meaning your information is never shared with the person whose posted the comment.