For almost a full day, a popular community Facebook group was shut down and many were left wondering why. Then Action News Now investigated, and the group reappeared.
Butte County Fires, Accidents, and Crimes was the name of the group, and its goal was to provide community members with news and crimes about what is currently happening.
This group started a little more than a year ago and has grown to more than 17,000 members.
“They come to us for news about crimes, fires, accidents, any breaking story,” said Sean Coon, one of the group administrators.
“It is citizen journalism, which has value,” said Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea.
The group has 7 administrators who listen to the scanner and put out real-time updates based on what they hear.
“We’re irreplaceable. We often have information before even you professional reporters do because we are listening real time and getting information from community members in real time and decimating that information to the group,” said Coon.
Sheriff Kory Honea says he absolutely sees the value of these groups and appreciates the hard work many of these people put in, he just cautions the public to not take to preliminary scanner information as fact.
“Some of the information that gets put out in the early stages may not be accurate. Often times we wait until we can verify information before we put it out to the community because of the harm that it can cause,” he said.
However, Coon says they are sensitive to police operations and run the group in a professional manner.
On Monday evening, the group was taken down with no notice, which left thousands in the community confused as to why. But, about a half hour after a Facebook rep responded to us, the group reappeared.
Facebook says it did not violate any policies and is investigating why the group was removed.