The City of Castlegar’s Facebook page has disappeared. Without warning or notice it was there one minute and then gone the next.
The page disappeared earlier this week and since then, city staff have spent countless hours trying to track down what happened. They have determined what didn’t cause the disappearance — there have been no security breaches, hacks or internal issues — but have come up blank on what could have caused it.
The city has notified Facebook and asked for an explanation and for the page to be put back as soon as possible, but after five days the social media giant has yet to respond at all.
This has left the city without one of its major communication tools. A public engagement survey conducted by the city last year showed that 66 per cent of respondents got their information on city-related issues directly from the city’s Facebook page and Facebook was the preferred communication method for 55 per cent of respondents.
The page is handy on the best of days. But on the worst of days, like when the Merry Creek wildfire broke out within city limits on July 1, 2021, it is essential. It is the fastest way for the city to get emergency information out to a large audience.
“This is very disappointing for us because we have been working for years to grow the City of Castlegar Facebook page as an important tool to get many of our residents information in a way that works best for them, especially during emergencies,” says Chris Barlow, Castlegar’s chief administrative officer.
“We are proactively sharing our situation so other levels of government and businesses are aware that Facebook pages can be removed without any notice, at any time, leaving a gap in the ability to reach people wanting or needing information.”
For the time being, residents are asked to rely on the city’s website (castlegar.ca) and local print, online, radio, and television media for city information.