Central City PD Gets Clever With Censorship

As you may – or may not – be aware, the Central City  Police Department (CPD) in Louisiana recently added In God We Trust to their police cruisers.  They have joined an ever-growing list of police departments and Sheriff offices that enshrine that relic of Cold War mentality. And like any good government agency steeped in the lure of the Cold War, the CPD is apparently engaging in some interesting spy-craft.

As I reported a few days ago, some agencies in Missouri have been blocking users and deleting comments on their social media accounts. This brings up some serious questions, but none of that mattered for the CPD – until today.

The news agency that covered the implementation of IGWT on the cars, WBRZ, had this to say about the CPD’s social media site:

“On the Central department’s Facebook, people have only posted positive feedback.”

Except, not.

In fact, The Original Motto Project (TOMP) left a comment on the CPD’s site – as did some of our members – expressing dissent to the decision to add IGWT. So how would the reporter for WBRZ come to conclusion that only positive comments were posted? Well, that’s where the CPD’s clever spy-craft comes in.

In the course of a conversation on TOMP’s Facebook page, it was revealed that the users who posted the dissenting comments could still see their posts, but nobody else could. The CPD, instead of deleting comments and blocking people (which might be a 1st Amendment violation), simply muted the posts, giving the user the impression that their post was still visible. Clever girl.

Our National Director, Robert Ray, took this screenshot showing the deceit:



On the left, Ray was signed into his wife’s Facebook account. As you can see, the post from is not visible. On the right, Ray is signed in to his own account and the post appears to still be visible. Check out the time stamp: both pictures are from 10:54 am. Now, to be completely fair, it isn’t clear if the intent behind muting the posts was so that they would appear unaltered or if that was simply a side-effect of more government .

I have contacted the CPD to determine who is the admin for their Facebook page, but have not yet received a reply. The reporter who wrote the story for WBRZ has been contacted and is looking into the matter.

I will update as this develops.

Image: Robert Ray / Screenshot 

Thomas Essel

Thomas Essel is an outspoken secular activist and serves as Assistant Director for The Original Motto Project. Thomas also writes for the Patheos Atheist blog Danthropology and his work has appeared in the Springfield News-Leader. You can contact Thomas at: Thomas@originalmotto.us