A day after the Queen made her official debut on Facebook the royal family's profile has become a lightning rod for debate about the monarchy, with the palace web team forced to censor a string of offensive comments.

More than 1,50,000 people have “liked” the British Monarchy page since it was published on November 8, with thousands of comments added to the profile's news and photographs.

Alongside postings of support from monarchists, the profile has become the focus of comments from anti-royalists as well as Argentinians angry about the ongoing dispute over the Falkland Islands, Cornish nationalists and republicans.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said that moderators were forced to step in and takedown abusive comments but added that there was no selective targeting of postings made by republicans.

“Spamming is a common problem on Facebook.” “The site has systems in place to report and block spammers and the web team is using the tolls available to block offensive comments.” Users are able to “like” the royal Facebook page, which means they will receive updates in their news feeds. But it is not possible to “poke” or “friend” the Queen as the page represents the royal family and not an individual.

The profile has sparked a host of online spoofs with profile pictures including the Queen in a McDonald's uniform and wearing Rangers and Arsenal football tops. Buckingham Palace already has a presence on Twitter, which has more than 70,000 followers, and YouTube, with more than 33,000 subscribers.— © Guardian Newspapers Limited, 2010

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