A Peace River community group is being negatively affected by a decision made by Facebook to suspend their account indefinitely.

Peace River Rotaract is a community group that has notably raised $16,450 through an online foodbank during the pandemic, they coordinate annual town-wide garbage clean-up, they’ve supported local non-profit organizations like the SPCA, raised and packed 130 backpacks full of school supplies for students in need, yet Facebook has deemed their account committed community violations and has been taken down from the platform.

“Facebook was our primary avenue for marketing and advertising our new projects and Rotaract news,” says Rotaract’s Rylee Armstrong.

“Since the page suspension, we’ve been forced to better utilize our website as the main source for Rotaract information. However, it’s more difficult to get the word out as people need to share the link from the website rather than sharing a post from our page as done in the past.”

Armstrong reached out to Meta Support multiple times to explain the group’s situation, explaining how vital the page is to spreading news about their community efforts.“No matter my begs and pleas, I’m faced with the same pre-written automated responses indicating that our case is still being analyzed by the internal team,” says Armstrong, adding they have been given no timeline or indication the page will be recovered.

“I turned to Google for additional research to help our situation, and for some direction on what to do next. I came across a great deal of people with similar experiences who were met with little, to no support from Meta,” she adds.

Armstrong says the non-profit group is left feeling defeated and unsure of where to turn, noting that if anyone in the public has experience dealing with these situations that they would appreciate help to rectify the situation.

“Most people would suggest creating a new page,” says Armstrong. “We tried it, but Facebook flagged our entire profile, meaning the minute we created a new page with Peace River Rotaract branding, it was disabled and removed immediately.”

The group realizes how important the social media platform is to advertise their community efforts and they’re frustrated that the conglomerate isn’t making any efforts to help correct the issue.

“In a world that revolves around social media, it’s disheartening to know that we put our trust into a platform not knowing that one day it would be swept out from under us,” she says.

“We’re proud of the work we’ve done, we’re proud of the community we’ve established on Facebook, and we’re proud of the memories we were able to share with our followers.”

Armstrong is hoping that by getting the word out to the community, that those interested in the endeavours of the group will help monitor their website to then share their upcoming events on personal social media pages.

“I hope we can bring some awareness to the dangers of relying so heavily on a digital platform designed to create connections,” Armstrong says.

“The only goal of our club is to make Peace River a great place to live, and unfortunately our club will not succeed without the ability to share our projects and successes with our small town through Facebook.”

For more information about projects they are working on and to share their efforts on your own page, please visit www.peacerotaract.com

by Emily Plihal Local Journalism Initiative Reporter – South Peace News – southpeacenews.com

Original Published on Feb 28, 2024 at 10:50

This item reprinted with permission from   South Peace News   High Prairie, Alberta

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