Facebook Has Gone Way Too Far

Facebook needs to be shut down. The sheer number of reports we are receiving showing their communist leanings is incredible. These farmers and rural people have done nothing wrong yet got their self help page shut down. Why – what did they do wrong? We stand beside these rural people and farmers and the 11,000 people who petitioned to get it reinstated. Shows people power works against tyranny. We do not and never will use Facebook and encourage others to do the very same. There are a lot of other social media sites.

One Day Closer to Rain Facebook group reinstated after 11,000 people sign petition

One Day Closer to Rain cover picturePHOTO: One Day Closer to Rain brings together farmers to share their experiences of drought. (Facebook)

A ‘vital’ social media group connecting farmers battling the drought has been reinstated by Facebook after being abruptly disabled.

Key points:

  • Facebook has apologised after it shut down a popular group used by farmers struggling with drought
  • The page was disabled after after it was mistakenly judged to have breached Facebook’s terms of service
  • The founder of the page says the emotional support the page has provided has potentially saved lives

More than 11,000 people signed an online petition within hours of the One Day Closer to Rain (Drought) group being removed from Facebook, calling for its return.

The page brings together thousands of primary producers who give each other advice and support, as well as allowing people from the city to see the realities of the drought.

“It was a place for people to share their stories so they weren’t alone in drought, and it just grew from there,” founder and New South Wales farmer Cassandra McLaren said.

“It’s more than a Facebook page — it’s a community, it’s a family.

“It was farmers sharing their stories, it was people living in rural towns but not necessarily on farms sharing their stories, it was people in city and urban areas that didn’t live on farms trying to understand.”

The group was suspended by Facebook yesterday after it breached a community standard in relation to selling livestock, a mistake Facebook has now acknowledged.

“We appreciate the hard work that ‘One Day Closer To Rain’ is doing to support drought-stricken farmers and their families at this difficult time,” a Facebook company spokesperson said.

“We’ve looked into yesterday’s removal, and upon further review, realised that we made an error and have since restored the Group and are reaching out to the admins of this Group to apologise for our mistake.”

A woman with greying brown hair, dressed in outdoor clothing, stands in a paddock with some cows in the background.PHOTO: Cassandra McLaren said she is still reeling after One Day Closer to Rain was disabled by Facebook. (Supplied: Cassandra McLaren)

Founder ‘ecstatic’ about the group’s return

Isolation is a common feeling shared by primary producers living through the worst drought in a century, but the online community group offers a little reprieve and crucial connections, disregarding countless kilometres between its users.

“We are ecstatic that it is back up,” Ms McLaren said.

“Still reeling and trying to process it all but are extremely appreciative of the support of everyday Australians who have rallied to ensure our page is able to continue.

“With this being recorded as the biggest drought on record, it’s actually a historical record of this drought.

“We look forward to hopefully direct contact with Facebook and an understanding of what has happened.”

After first learning the group had been taken down over concerns of the sale of livestock and guns, Ms McLaren said she was “devastated and gobsmacked.”

“Anybody who knows our main One Day Closer To Rain page, [knows] it’s not a sales group,” she said.

“We don’t allow sales — we don’t even allow hunting, so why we would we be selling guns?”

Users have often praised the group because of the exclusion of sales.

“Often the comments have been … ‘it’s so supportive, it doesn’t have all the other crap other pages have’, and we had to moderate fairly hard to get it to that standard,” Ms McLaren said.

A screenshot of Facebook comments in which users voice their displeasure at a group being shut down.PHOTO: Members were quick to voice their concerns on social media. (Facebook)

People power

Within hours more than 11,000 people had signed the online petition, and many other emailed Facebook with their concerns, as well as voicing them online.

“This is devastating to us that are on the land … it’s a lifeline to each other and city folk who are interested in what we do,” Robin Clydsdale wrote.

“It’s a wealth of information to us all.”

Another user, Kerry Fraser, said she was worried about the impacts Facebook restrictions could have.

“This is deeply concerning,” Ms Fraser said.

“At this time of the year this lifeline is critical for our farmers for our mental health.”

That was a sentiment echoed by Ms McLaren.

“We can’t be without that page, it’s vital, it’s saved lives and that’s not an underestimation,” she said.

“Australia needs it, farmers need it, and those that aren’t on the land need to know they can support them, even if it’s just emotionally, because it does make a difference.

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-12-18/facebook-brings-back-one-day-closer-to-rain/11809102

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