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"What did I do wrong?" Local Church's Facebook Page Suspended by Company

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Wayside Church Facebook problems

CLINTON, Ind. (WTHI)- At Wayside United Methodist Church, the congregation is like family. So when COVID-19 paused in-person gatherings, pastor Terry Jeffers needed something to keep the family together during some uncertain times. He was able to find a quick and easy solution.

"I had all this extra time on my hands," he said." So, I decided to do a Facebook live post from the comfort of my own home."

Jeffers originally posted these lives on his page. They eventually moved to the church's official Facebook page once members began to return to the church. Jeffers said these lives could receive an audience of anywhere between 120 and 500 people. This digital way of gathering allowed the church's message to reach people all over the country.

"Several family members out in Texas," Jeffers said of the people reached through the lives. "The Foltz family in Arizona, some personal friends of mine in Lousiana, Georgia, Florida."

The church also gained a large following of local people. It also allowed homebound church members to still take part in services.

But, this momentum came to a sudden halt a few weeks ago. Jeffers said he received a message from Facebook stating the church's page had been unpublished. According to Facebook, the church's page violated policy by pretending to be an individual or business. One thought went through Jeffers' head when he received the email.

"What did I do wrong?" he said. "It's a natural thought process."

After weeks of contacting Facebook, Jeffers has yet to receive an answer why.

According to Facebook's terms and conditions, they can and will suspend any accounts for impersonation. But, the website does not specify how they are alerted of such accounts.

In the meantime, Jeffers has moved the lives back to his personal Facebook. The sudden closure of the church's Facebook page has caused some members to be lost in the scramble. Jeffers plans to start a new Facebook page. In the meantime, Jeffers is hopeful the church's message will find a way back to the community.

"If our message is meant to be out there," he said. "Then it will be out there."

For more on Facebook's policies, click here.

Multimedia Journalist/Producer

Caitlin is a multimedia journalist/producer for WTHI-TV. Have a story tip or idea? Contact her! Email: Caitlin.Hunt@wthitv.com.

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