CARROLLTON -- Some Carrollton homeowners involved in a bitter, years-long dispute with their city over a crumbling retaining wall now say city leaders are trying to silence them.

They claim their comments on Carrollton's Facebook page have been deleted. In some cases, they've been banned from posting anything.

Carrollton officials say they had no choice.

The page invites comments. The homeowners of Barclay Drive shared links to news coverage and voiced their feelings about the crumbling retaining wall behind their homes.

But their comments suddenly began disappearing.

"It only shows that the city doesn't want to hear what we have to say," said Laura Brewer, a Barclay Drive homeowner. "The truth hurts."

Milan Hamrla posted links to a news story. The city took it down. Hamrla says he has been banned from posting.

"I think it's not fair, because everyone should have the right to post anything on the city's Facebook page," Hamrla said.

A spokesperson for the City of Carrollton told us comments about the crumbling retaining wall were deleted on the advice of the city attorney, especially with a pending lawsuit filed by several residents who live along Barclay.

Under the city's terms of use, comments must be within the scope of the topic under discussion. The policy states, "Anyone posting comments to this Terms of Use policy may be prohibited from further participation."

"We like to engage in dialog with residents, but in this case, we legally can't," said Carrollton Marketing Director Sheri Chadwick.

Social media expert and SMU professor Steve Lee said deleting public comments that aren't profane or defamatory is bad business.

"You don't squelch what people have to say, good or bad," Lee said.

Carrollton Mayor Matthew Marchant said the page is provided as a service.

"Criticism comes with the job," Marchant said.


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