Facebook Reopens Farming Group Taken Down 'In Error' Over Live Animal Sales
A social media support group for struggling, drought-stricken farmers that was taken down by Facebook has been reopened.
Facebook disabled the 'One Day Closer To Rain (Drought)' public group on Tuesday because it was mistakenly deemed to allow the sale of livestock, which goes against the company's community standards.
But the policy has recently been updated to allow the sale of live animals in specific instances.
After uproar online, the group was restored on Wednesday morning, with Facebook issuing an apology claiming the platform "made an error".
“We appreciate the hard work ‘One Day Closer To Rain’ is doing to support drought-stricken farmers and their families at this difficult time," a spokeswoman told 10 daily.
"We’ve looked into yesterday’s removal, and upon further review, realised we made an error and have since restored the Group."
10 daily understands an associated private group, 'One Day Closer To Rain (Drought) Stock Page' allows for drought-affected farmers to find a purchaser for stock, but not to make a sale. This page was not taken down on Tuesday.
The main public page, which has about 45,000 approved members, is primarily a discussion page offering general support and resources.
10 daily has sought clarification from Facebook.
The spokeswoman said the company was reaching out to the admins of the group to apologise for their mistake.
NSW farmer Cassandra McLaren, the group's founder and administrator, told 10 daily she appreciates Facebook's reversal of its decision, but said she still needs answers.
"Our catch cry is together we can do wonderful things, and this is definitely a case of that," she said.
"We look forward to reaching out to them and finding out what went wrong."
She said she is yet to see an apology from the social media giant.
McLaren set up the Facebook group last May to offer support to drought-stricken farmers.
"It was a way for farmers to know they weren't alone, a place for them to reach out to others for help or advice for any situation they're facing," she said, adding the online group is believed to be the largest of its kind in Australia.
But she said she was "shocked, horrified and stressed" after she attempted to log on to the page on Tuesday morning to find it had been shut down.
When 10 daily tried to view the page on Tuesday, it came up blank with the message 'sorry, this content isn't available right now'.
Now, with the group back up and running, McLaren said she will put pressure on Facebook to make sure it doesn't happen again.
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