The Scioto County Sheriff’s official Facebook page vanished without explanation for a few days. When you headed over to their site, you would get this notice. “This Page Isn’t Available. The link may be broken, or the page may have been removed. Check to see if the link you’re trying to open is correct.” On some devices, the site will come up due to old data stored in the cache. However, the site is nowhere to be found when that’s updated. The Scioto County Sheriff’s Facebook page is an active site with nearly 23,000 followers.
The Sheriff’s Office used the site to post about notable arrests, request assistance in finding fugitives, post job openings, and salute retiring personnel. Most recently the site posted about the retirement of Chief Deputy Todd D. Miller, Office Manager Karen Coleman, and Captain James Carter. However, the biggest personnel change, the welcoming of the new Sheriff David Thoroughman was not mentioned on their page. Thoroughman was sworn in at the Scioto County Courthouse on Wednesday.
Is Facebook A Public Record?
A vanishing social media page for a public agency is problematic. The information posted on the social media pages of government agencies can be considered to be part of the public record as it is a vital way they communicate with the people they serve. Removing the social medial page for a government agency could be viewed as destroying public records.
President Trump’s fondness for Tweeting has led to lawsuits over whether it’s acceptable for government officials to block people on social media and debate over whether it’s even allowable for an official to delete a post or tweet.
Scioto County Daily News contacted Sheriff Thoroughman about the vanishing page. The Sheriff offered no public comment at this time. Of course, this could be some type of Facebook glitch. Facebook has shut down pages in error before. This has also resulted in mistakenly deleted pages with thousands of followers.
However, the site was back online on Monday morning, the same day new Sheriff David Thoroughman went into the office for the first time. Still no word as to why it disappeared in the first place. We’re continuing the investigation.